NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is searching for a new legal team to represent him in an FBI investigation of his business dealings.
A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Cohen's current legal team plans to stop handling the case and that Cohen has begun a hunt for new attorneys.
It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the change or who would take over. The person, who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, also noted that Cohen has not yet held any discussions with prosecutors about potentially cooperating in the investigation.
Cohen has been represented since 2017 by Stephen Ryan, a Washington lawyer initially hired to prepare him for congressional testimony about alleged Russian interference in the presidential election.
After FBI agents raided Cohen's office in April, Ryan and his New York partner, Todd Harrison, went to court to try to keep investigators from seeing some of the confiscated files on the grounds that they were protected by attorney client privilege. The pair, along with lawyers for Trump, has been working for weeks to identify documents that should be withheld from prosecutors.
The legal teams were facing a deadline of the end of this week to get much of that work complete.
Neither Cohen, Ryan nor Harrison immediately responded to messages Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors in New York have publicly said they are investigating alleged fraud in Cohen's business dealings, but haven't disclosed details.
When agents searched Cohen's home, office and safety deposit box and seized his phones this spring, they sought a wide variety of information, including his involvement in arranging a secret $130,000 payment to the porn actress Stormy Daniels, who said she had a sexual tryst with Trump years ago.
Cohen has maintained that he's innocent of wrongdoing, and Trump has called the raid on his lawyer an assault on attorney client privilege.
The news that Cohen was making a switch in his legal representation was first reported by ABC News.
It isn't unusual for high-profile figures facing potential criminal charges to look for attorneys who have deep experience in the court where the case is expected to be tried, and a track record of negotiating with local prosecutors.
Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is suing him in an attempt to get the actress released from a confidentiality agreement, gloated over the news in a tweet.
"Not a good look and a disaster for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump," he said.
- Donald Trump ex-lawyer fires possible warning
- Michael Avenatti tripped up by Nike extortion claims, other charges
- Michael Avenatti charged with extortion and wire, bank fraud
- Court deadlines set stage for more Russia probe details
- Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen admits lying about Russian deal
- Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress
- After arrest, Michael Avenatti denies LA domestic violence
- Mueller probe gets info from ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
- New York state subpoenas Cohen in Trump Foundation probe
- Michael Avenatti charged with fraud as he testified in related case
- Inside catch and kill: Cohen, a porn star and 'Individual 1'
- The Latest: Cohen says hush money paid to influence election (UPDATED)
- President Trump, Stormy Daniels both in Ohio Saturday night
- Donald Trump calls on Jeff Sessions to end Robert Mueller's Russia probe
- Legal implications on Trump or Cohen unclear on secret tape
- Trump recorded discussing paying for Playboy model's story
- Stormy Daniels arrested at Ohio strip club -- then released (UPDATED)
- Wet hot Washington: Stormy Daniels strips near White House
- Sanctioned Russian oligarch linked to Cohen has vast US ties
- Analysis: With Cohen plea, GOP faces familiar Trump quandary
- Immigration firm seems to thrive after Trump lawyer's help
- The year of Mueller: 12 months in, here's what we've learned
- Trump considers benching Giuliani from doing TV interviews
- Giuliani finds aiding Trump with his defense is a struggle
- Shakeup in Trump's legal team may usher in tougher stance
- Report: Mueller team gives Trump lawyers a list of questions
- Trump says Cohen represented him in "Stormy Daniels deal"
- Lawyer: Trump ready for role in raids' evidence review
- Mystery grows over pro-Saudi tabloid: Embassy got sneak peek
- Trump legal team in Russia probe gets Rudy Giuliani
- Defending Trump in Russia probe? It's hardly a dream job
- Trump: All lawyers 'deflated' by FBI raid on Michael Cohen
- $30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip
- FBI raid sought Cohen's communications with Trump campaign
- As Trump fumes, senators craft a bill to protect Mueller
- Trump fumes at Mueller probe after raid on attorney
- Trump furious after FBI seizes documents from his lawyer (UPDATED)
- Ratings big for "60 Minutes" Stormy Daniels interview, some pushback
- Porn star reveals details about alleged encounter with Trump
- Porn star sues Trump over nondisclosure agreement
- Porn star says she feels free to discuss Trump encounter
- Trump lawyer says he paid porn actress out of his own pocket
- Amid publicity tour, porn star denies affair with Trump