Spotted some cinematic potential in Michael Cohen’s testimony before the US Congress today (Feb. 27). You might not have to wait all that long before Hollywood gets its hands on the saga, based on comments made by Donald Trump’s former personal attorney to the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
One of its members, North Carolina lawmaker Virginia Foxx, a Republican, pressed Cohen to commit under oath that he had not, and would not, pursue a book or movie deal based on his experiences working for Trump. Cohen refused, prompting a tense exchange between the pair:
Foxx: You cannot commit to making money off of a book or movie deal based on your work?
Cohen: No. What I—there’s two parts to your question. The first part of your question: you asked me whether or not I had spoken to people regarding a possible book deal, and I have. And I have spoken to people who sought me out regarding a movie deal.
Foxx: No, I didn’t ask you if you’ve spoken to anybody. I said can you commit under oath that you will not—that you have not and will not pursue a book deal?
Cohen: And I will not do that, no.
Foxx: Can you commit under oath that you will not pursue opportunities to provide commentary for a major news network based on your experiences working for the president?
Foxx: Can you commit under oath that you will not pursue political office in the state of New York?
Foxx: So you don’t commit to changing your ways, basically, because you want to continue to use your background as a liar, a cheater, a convicted liar, to make money. That’s what you want to do.
Cohen: And that’s going to get me a book deal and a movie deal and a spot on television? I don’t think so.
Foxx: Well, it appears that it will. I yield the remainder of my time.
Earlier in his testimony, Cohen said: “I have done things I am not proud of, and I will live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life.” He worried, too, about having “shattered the safety and security that I tried so hard to provide for my family.”
But if talks are successful and he does get a book or movie deal, the damage to his bottom line may not be so great after all. If that doesn’t work out, he can always run for public office, or seek out a role in the media, if they’ll have him. There’s recent precedent of other political operatives in the Trump administration making that transition: CNN earlier this month announced that it hired Sarah Isgur Flores, who served as spokesperson for former attorney general Jeff Sessions, as a political editor for their Washington bureau.
Of course, Cohen would have one big strike against him: his convictions for perjury and fraud. Starting March 6, he’ll be serving three years in prison for them, making him unavailable for any production meetings or writers’ room discussions until 2022. Happily for screenwriters, they’ve already got some solid gold material to work with.