Michael Cohen, ex-Trump lawyer, tells ABC: 'I will not be the villain of his story'

WLS logo
Friday, December 14, 2018
WATCH: Michael Cohen speaks exclusively on 'GMA'
Following his sentencing, President Donald Trump's longtime former lawyer Michael Cohen spoke to ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.

NEW YORK -- Michael Cohen said that he knew that making hush payments to women who had alleged affairs with then-candidate Trump was wrong, and he said that the president knew that, too. Following his sentencing to three years in prison, President Donald Trump's longtime former lawyer sat down exclusively with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America" in an interview which aired on Friday morning.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III said on Wednesday that Cohen deserved a harsh punishment for crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress and arranging illicit payments to silence women who posed a risk to Trump's presidential campaign.

"I stood up before the world yesterday, and I accepted the responsibility of my actions," Cohen told Stephanopoulos.

The judge rejected arguments by Cohen's lawyers that he should be spared jail time because he cooperated in multiple federal investigations involving Trump.

RELATED: Who is Donald Trump's personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen?

When Stephanopoulos asked whether the president knew it was wrong to make the payments, Cohen replied, "Of course," but he did not elaborate.

"I will not be the villain of his story," Cohen said.

He added that his "blind loyalty" to Trump made him feel a duty to "cover up" the president's "dirty deeds."

"I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty," Cohen said.

Cohen's crimes included evading $1.4 million in taxes and misleading Congress about his talks with Russians about a Trump skyscraper project in Moscow.

Trump had called for a tough sentence for Cohen, whom he labeled a liar. Cohen told ABC he no longer feels any loyalty to the president.

"My first loyalty belongs to my wife, my daughter, my son and this country," he said.


The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.