Michael Cohen was once a key player on Donald Trump's campaign but the president's former attorney is testifying against him.
Cohen, Trump’s long-time lawyer and friend, appeared in court Wednesday to give a highly anticipated testimony to the House Oversight Committee as a result of an investigation that has been going on for over a year. This court appearance comes after Cohen pled guilty to eight federal crimes, including tax evasion and making false statements to a bank last year, landing him a three-year jail sentence in December. His prison sentence is scheduled to begin in May.
Cohen previously testified that Trump asked him to arrange payments to two women he had sexual encounters with — porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model, Karen McDougal — to silence them, which violated the caps on campaign contributions.
Though Trump has denied he had anything to do with paying the women off, contradicting earlier statements of course, he allegedly became aware of these payments at a later time and reimbursed Cohen from his personal funds, not the campaign funds.
There’s no doubt that being in the spotlight and taking the fall is all part of being on Trump’s side, but this investigation has made us wonder about Cohen’s personal life.
Just who is Michael Cohen’s wife? Here are 8 things to know about Laura Shusterman, also known as Laura Cohen, who has stood by his side throughout the investigation.
1. Her family is from the Ukraine.
Her family arrived in the United States in 1975 and are naturalized citizens. Her background has come up in the Russia investigation, with rumors circulating that Cohen created a “back channel” for peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. In his statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence back in September 2017, Cohen denied the allegations.
2. They’ve been married for more than 20 years.
I want to wish my wife and moms everywhere a happy and joyous Mother's Day! pic.twitter.com/XSgXLMIqOa
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) May 8, 2016
The couple married in 1994 and, even more interesting, his brother Bryan also married a Ukrainian.
3. Her father introduced Cohen to Trump.
According to Seth Hettena, author of the book Trump/Russia: A Definitive History, Cohen’s father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, introduced the two.
“‘Shusterman was in the garment business and owned a fleet of taxicabs with his partners, Shalva Botier and Edward Zubok... Fima may have been a (possibly silent) business partner with Trump, perhaps even used as a conduit for Russian investors in Trump properties and other ventures,’ a former federal investigator told me. ‘Cohen, who married into the family, was given the job with the Trump Org as a favor to Shusterman.’”
4. Her father is also a criminal.
Shusterman owned taxi cabs and was in the business but pled guilty in 1993 to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in a tax fraud and money laundering scheme.
5. Laura and Michael were also in the taxi business.
A report in the New York Daily News claimed that the couple owes $37,434 in unpaid taxes to the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) for taxi medallions. Cohen says his companies are managed by the “Taxi King,” Evgeny Friedman, who also owes money in taxes ($5 million, to be exact).
6. She and her husband own Trump properties.
If you’re a friend of Trump, you probably have to support his businesses or namesake in some way. And such is the case for the Cohens. They recently sold their Trump World Tower apartment for $3.3 million but purchased the apartment back in 2001. They currently live in Trump Park Avenue.
7. And so do her parents.
Laura’s parents co-own property in Trump Tower located on United Nations Plaza. And back in 2013, they had to take one of their renters (Jocelyn Wildenstein, also known as the “catwoman”) to court for $73,500 owed in back rent.
8. They have two children.
— Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) May 15, 2017
Laura and Michael Cohen have two children, a daughter, Samantha, and a son, Jake. Jake attends the University of Miami, and Samantha attends the University of Pennsylvania. “My wife and I have been married for 23 years, and are now entering into the season of our lives when we get to watch our children become adults themselves,” he said of his children growing up.
Cohen found himself under fire after posting a photo to Twitter of his daughter wearing a bra and tights, attempting to recreate the one Andy Warhol took of Edie Sedgwick. While people said it was creepy, Cohen said it was to celebrate his daughter’s “beauty and brains,” as she attends an Ivy League college.
Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.