WSJ: Cohen tells Tom Arnold he didn't do crimes he pleaded guilty to

Arnold recorded telephone conversation

By Eli Watkins, CNN
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump

Washington, DC - President Donald Trump's former personal attorney told an actor he did not actually do some of the crimes included in his guilty plea, a recording obtained by The Wall Street Journal showed.

The paper published audio of Michael Cohen speaking with actor Tom Arnold, who provided the Journal a 36-minute recording, where the former fixer for Trump said last month he had lost "everything" because of an alleged affair between Trump and "a porn star." Trump has denied all allegations of extramarital affairs.

"My family's happiness, my law license. You know, I lost my business. ... I lost everything," Cohen said in the recording. "My insurance, my bank accounts. All for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That's really what this is about."

Arnold told the Journal that Cohen did not know he was being recorded.

Cohen's attorney Lanny Davis told CNN in response to the report that nothing Cohen told Arnold "contradicts Mr. Cohen's previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December."

"I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen's cooperation and testimony as 'credible' addressing the 'core' issues involved in his investigation," Davis said.

Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to a slew of charges, including campaign finance violations related to Trump as well as financial crimes and later for misleading Congress. In the recording, Cohen specifically denies tax evasion and a crime related to a home equity line of credit application, both of which are included in his plea agreement.

"There is no tax evasion," Cohen said. "And the HELOC? I have an 18% loan to value on my home. How could there be a HELOC issue? How?... It's a lie."

Cohen said on the recording that "they had me on campaign finance," which is a portion of his plea agreement.

But the Journal said later on in the conversation, Cohen claimed he went forward with some of his guilty plea in part to protect his wife.

"I love this woman," Cohen said. "I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap, and I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence."

Cohen is set to report to prison in early May.

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