US President Donald Trump has distanced himself from the legal troubles of his longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen, saying he has done nothing wrong and Cohen did only fraction of his overall legal work.
“This doesn’t have to do with me. Michael is a businessman. He’s got a business. He also practices law,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “And they’re looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business.”
Asked how much legal work Cohen did for him, Trump said: “As a percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction.”
Trump said Cohen represented him in the “crazy” Stormy Daniels case. She is an adult-film star who says she had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006.
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels or any knowledge of a $US130,000 ($A182,000) payment made by Cohen to Daniels before the 2016 US election.
In a filing in Los Angeles federal court on Wednesday, Cohen said he decided to assert his constitutional right after the FBI raided his home, office and hotel room two weeks ago.
“Based on the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Cohen wrote in the filing.
The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states that no individual can be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”
By asserting that right, Cohen can avoid revealing information in Daniels’ civil lawsuit that could aid federal investigators in the criminal probe of his business dealings.