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Michael Cohen Is Shaking Up His Legal Team as Cooperation with Mueller Intensifies


President Donald Trump‘s former personal attorney Michael Cohen announced two new additions to his legal team and two subtractions on Monday, as Cohen “continues to cooperate” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Cohen attorney/spokesman Lanny Davis said in a statement Monday afternoon that Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, who had served as Cohen’s criminal defense attorneys in the Southern District of New York, would be replaced by Chicago-based attorneys Michael Monico and Barry Spevack.

Monico and Spevack both bring decades of experience to the table, the former bringing prosecutorial experience and the latter bringing 38 years of criminal defense experience.

“Mr. Monico is a former Assistant US Attorney from the Northern District of Illinois and past President of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Mr. Spevack is an experienced criminal defense lawyer for the past 38 years,” Davis said. “He has co-authored a leading criminal law text. Both Mr. Monico and Mr. Spevack have represented clients in criminal defense cases in jurisdictions across the country.”

Davis included a joint statement from the two attorneys. They pledged that they would advise Cohen to cooperate “as best he can with all governmental authorities.”

“We look forward to helping Mr. Cohen fulfill what he has told us is his only mission — to tell the truth as he knows it and to turn the corner on his past life and taking ownership for his past mistakes by cooperating as best as he can with all governmental authorities in search of the truth,” they said.

The attorneys say on their firm website that they have written “the only authoritative volume analyzing federal criminal law in the Seventh Circuit,” the circuit assigned to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“For more than 30 years, Monico & Spevack has successfully defended individuals and corporations in complex, high-stakes white collar litigation. White-collar defense is our only focus.  When experience matters, look to Monico & Spevack,” the website says. “We wrote the book on Seventh Circuit criminal practice. Entitled Federal Criminal Practice: A Seventh Circuit Handbook.”

Monico’s career and outlook was profiled extensively some years ago by the Leading Lawyers Network:

Monico, of Monico & Spevack, has represented politicians, businessmen, and employees of corporations under criminal investigation. Monico’s current clients include several BP employees under investigation by the federal government as part of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“Every time I open a new case, I have to learn about a new business, I have to learn about a new industry,” says Monico. “So, it’s a fascinating job.”

Interestingly, that profile says, “one of Monico’s first cases as a defense lawyer involved a client convicted of selling secrets to the Russian government.”

Others have noted that Monico’s services were sought out by a Lithuanian judge who “feared death back home after exposing a pedophile ring.”

[Image via Bryan R. Smyth/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.