Michael Cohen exits Federal Court
Michael Cohen exits Federal Court

WASHINGTON - Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's estranged personal lawyer, said on Thursday that he will testify in an open session before a congressional panel next month, just weeks before he heads to prison for lying to Congress and other crimes.

In a statement, Cohen, who has provided dozens of hours of testimony about his dealings with Trump to prosecutors since flipping on the president last year, said that he "looks forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired."

The testimony will take place on Feb. 7 before the House Oversight Committee, the panel's new Democratic chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, announced. 

Cummings, a staunch critic of the Trump administration, said he has asked the White House and the Trump Organization to turn over the documents related to hush money payments Cohen made to two women who had alleged affairs with Trump.

In a statement, Cummings said that he's coordinating Cohen's testimony with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians and the president obstructed justice by interfering in the investigation.

"I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office," Cummings said.

Trump not worried

Trump, who has called his former lawyer a "weak person" and has accused him of lying to prosecutors to try to get a reduced prison sentence, told reporters Thursday that he was not "worried" about Cohen's testimony.

Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he hopes to schedule a closed-door session with Cohen about the Russian meddling.  

Cohen, who once said that he'll "take a bullet" for Trump, told a judge last month that his "blind loyalty" to the U.S. leader led him to "cover up his dirty deeds."

He pleaded guilty in August to federal charges of tax fraud, falsifying bank statements, and a payment he made to an adult film star to keep silent about an affair she allegedly had with Trump.

Cohen alleged that Trump directed him to make the $130,000 payment, which prosecutors say was an illegal campaign contribution that could influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

Cohen also pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about the timing of talks with Russia for building a Trump Tower complex in Moscow. The talks were still going on during the time Trump was running for president.

Trump has denied the allegations.