Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime attorney, fixer and all-purpose bully, was sentenced last week to three years in prison for various financial and campaign-finance violations. In his statement to the judge, he said he had been led to commit his “dirty deeds” out of loyalty to Donald Trump. This has led to great expectations for the tell-all book he will someday write, confessing to his crimes, taking just enough blame to appear sympathetic while settling scores with Trump and everyone else. Here are a few imagined excerpts from “Dirty Deeds,” not by Michael Cohen:
Chapter 1: The broken umbrella
It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon in 1998, and Donald Trump was angry. He was standing on the sidewalk outside Trump Tower, waiting for his limousine, forgetting that his driver had just resigned after Trump called him “a very low-IQ individual” and a “total loser” for taking Second Avenue instead of the FDR Drive.
“Mr. Trump?” I said, reaching to shake his hand. “My name is Michael Cohen.”
“Oh yeah? Hold this for me, will ya?” he said, handing me his umbrella.
“Do you need a taxi? I own lots of them.”
“Whatever,” he said, shrugging. “How would you like to be my personal attorney?”
“Sure,” I said. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for ever since I graduated from the least selective law school in the United States.
“By the way, this umbrella is broken.”
“I’ll fix it for you, Mr. Trump.”
Chapter 2: The path of darkness
So right then I became Donald Trump’s fixer. From that first meeting, I was hooked. Eventually, I came to realize that I had been lured into a life of criminal conspiracies, subversion of democracy and treason, but I believed the end — getting rich — justified the means. The profound, life-changing experience of getting caught has showed me how wrong I was. I was blinded by loyalty to Trump, led down the path of darkness to commit dirty deeds rather than listen to my own inner voice that should have warned me that the campaign finance violations I later pled guilty to were insidious. At least technically.
Why was I so loyal? I guess it’s just the kind of person I am. It’s true that Mr. Trump could be thoughtless at times, forgetting his employees’ birthdays, anniversaries or names, poking fun at them about their weight, religion, clothing, education, haircuts, wives and children. But he was also capable of moments of great kindness, like giving my son a Trump Organization ballpoint pen for his bar mitzvah, or throwing in a free upgrade to the granite countertops in my apartment in Club Trump International Worldwide Tower. I will never forget the time he said: “I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and I wouldn’t lose any votes.”
Afterward, he called me up and said, “Marvin, when I said that about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, I meant you.”
I was so thrilled, all I could say was: “I’d take a bullet for you, Mr. Trump.”
Chapter 5: A suspicious offer
My phone buzzed one day in 2015. It was someone named Felix Sater, who I hardly knew for 25 years, with some cockamamie scheme for building a Trump World Tower in Moscow. He said it had to be kept secret now, but he could arrange financing from a Russian oligarch, who had a line of credit from the National Bank of Kyrgyzstan, secured by a mortgage on a ruby mine in Siberia owned by the head of the KGB and cosigned by Vladimir Putin’s chauffeur, who was in line to be the next president of the Russian national oil company. He offered to meet me in the lobby in 20 minutes and deliver a down payment in cash.
Something about it just didn’t feel right to me.
“Listen, fella, this is the Trump Organization you’re dealing with,” I told him. “Mr. Trump has absolutely no business interests in Russia. Absolutely none. Not in Russia, OK? He doesn’t even know where Russia is. So you can tell your oligarch friend that we’re not interested in colluding with him, not even for $62.5 million, with a 12 percent set-aside for construction-cost overruns and an escalating penalty clause if it opens later than April 2019, and if I ever hear from you again, I will personally tear your heart out of your chest and feed it to the Komodo dragon I keep in my garage.”
But Sater was persistent, and eventually, against my better judgment, I agreed that I would bring the deal to Mr. Trump’s attention. To my surprise, Mr. Trump was receptive and suggested I meet with Sater, although not at the office.
“You can meet him at a restaurant. Whatever you do, don’t order the sushi” were Mr. Trump’s final words to me. I wish I had taken his advice.
Chapter 9: The one down the hall
It was late in the afternoon one August day that I was called to Mr. Trump’s private office in Trump Tower. The message came just before lunch and I hurried up to the 26th floor from my office in the basement, taking the stairs to avoid the security cameras in the elevators, as Mr. Trump had requested. That probably should have been a tip-off that something wasn’t quite right, but after I stood outside the door to his office for several hours I was feeling a little groggy.
Eventually he opened the door and seemed surprised to see me there.
“What do you want, Melvin?” he asked.
“Mr. Trump,” I said. “Can I use your restroom?”
“Use the one down the hall. The key is around here somewhere. Make sure you wash your hands when you’re done.
“But I want you to take care of something first.” He showed me pictures of two women.
“I never met these women,” he said. “And even if I did, I never did anything with them. Even though I could have. When you’re a star they let you get away with anything.”
“Then as your lawyer, I can say, you have nothing to worry about,” I told him.
“Maybe we should pay them off anyway. Why don’t you take care of it?”
I was shocked.
“But, Mr. Trump, that would be an illegal campaign contribution, in violation of 52 U.S.C. 30118011 (a) 30109 (d) (1) (A) and 18 U.S.C. Are you asking me to commit an illegal act?”
“Yes. But I won’t have any recollection of it.”
Right then, alarm bells started going off in my head. But it’s hard to say no to Mr. Trump, especially when you really, really need to use the bathroom. So I agreed, on condition that I would be White House chief of staff after the election. And Mr. Trump has promised me that once I’m paroled, the job is mine. Because Mr. Trump always rewards loyalty.