Any cooperation by Cohen with prosecutors would represent a significant blow to Trump, whose campaign is under investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller for alleged collusion with Russian Federation and who regularly expresses acute frustration with investigators.
"Are we a team?" asked Avenatti, lawyer for porn star and alleged Trump paramour Stormy Daniels. Cohen is Trump's former personal attorney and fixer.
The center of Cohen's troubles is a $130,000 hush-money paymentthat he facilitated to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, just weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about her allegation of a 2006 affair with Trump.
McDermott Will & Emery, a NY and Washington firm, has been representing Mr. Cohen.More news: U.S. targets Chinese tech with a 25 percent tariff
But there's little question that Trump is very anxious about what Cohen might tell prosecutors.
If a judge overseeing the case gave approval to the proposal, it could undercut Avenatti as he seeks to represent his client, often tormenting President Trump and associates including lawyer Michael Cohen on TV in the process.
"There are a lot of defense lawyers who don't want to be associated with a client who cooperates, because it hurts their reputation", Cotter said. The court has given them until Friday to complete the work, which has been time consuming and thus expensive.
If Cohen agrees to cooperate, it would be part of what's known as a global resolution. "The damage Cohen can do is far greater than everybody else combined". Sherman writes that Trump seems to be "relishing the freedom to act on his impulses, flying by feel and instinct", which one source describes as "exactly like the Trump Organization".
Few people were familiar with exactly what kind of work Cohen was doing on behalf of Trump or his family, according to people close to the President and former Trump campaign staffers, so it is hard for them to gauge what kind of information Cohen may have to offer if he were to strike a deal with prosecutors.
"Look at Manafort", Giuliani said, likening Cohen's case to Manafort's.
Above the Law offers its speculation on possible reasons for the split.