Trump lawyer Cohen adds ex-Clinton special counsel to legal team

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen has hired Lanny Davis, a crisis manager and former special counsel to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, to help him defend against a federal investigation in New York.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits his hotel in New York City, U.S., July 2, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Davis, who helped Clinton weather a series of White House scandals, said in a statement on Thursday that he spoke with Cohen several times in the past two weeks and “recognized his sincerity” following a recent interview with ABC News.

Davis was referring to ABC’s publication on Monday of an interview with Cohen in which he vowed to defend himself and protect his family and country first if Trump or the president’s legal team tried to discredit him.

“Michael Cohen deserves to tell his side of the story - subject, of course, to the advice of counsel,” Davis said in the statement, which was emailed to reporters.

Davis will be working with Guy Petrillo, the New York lawyer who was recently hired by Cohen to represent him in an ongoing criminal probe into his business activities in the Southern District of New York, a person familiar with the matter said.

Cohen, who has not been charged with any crimes, and Petrillo did not immediately respond to requests from Reuters for comment.

Lanny Davis is co-founder of the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper PLLC, and partner at a public relations firm. On his website he describes himself as a lawyer, crisis manager, consultant, author, and TV commentator.

“Lanny represents individuals, countries, and companies in high stakes global crises, litigation, government investigations and crisis management,” his website says.

The federal investigation into Cohen stems in part from a referral by the U.S. special counsel’s office looking into possible coordination between Trump 2016 campaign aides and Russia. Moscow denies interfering in the U.S. election and Trump denies collusion, describing the probe as a witch hunt.

Prosecutors are investigating Cohen for possible bank and tax fraud, possible campaign law violations linked to a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, and other matters related to Trump’s campaign, a person familiar with the investigation has told Reuters.

Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Phil Berlowitz