What is Michael Cohen’s net worth?

Cohen, the star witness in the hush-money trial, testified that he financially benefitted from his relationship with Trump

Ariana Baio
Tuesday 21 May 2024 18:43 BST
Related video: Trump skirts edge of hush money gag order on speaking about Cohen

Michael Cohen, the former lawyer and one-time “fixer” for Donald Trump, has made millions of dollars selling his story about his work for the former president.

But this is ultimately only a fraction of the fortune he has made – and lost – over the years through a series of ventures ranging from taxi medallions to podcasts to books.

Cohen was the star witness in Mr Trump’s hush money trial earlier this month, testifying that his relationship with Mr Trump financially benefitted him, hurt him and led him to pay adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 – the payment at the center of the alleged conspiracy in the case.

For around 20 years, Cohen worked as Mr Trump’s lawyer earning money through his legal work – and sometimes not-so-legal work.

But his association with Mr Trump has also cost Cohen dearly.

A slew of legal problems, time in prison and his disbarment from practising law have all contributed to his wealth dwindling.

Today, his net worth is estimated to now stand at less than $1m.

Here’s what we know about Cohen’s finances:

The taxi-cab business

Before becoming Mr Trump’s attorney in 2006, Cohen spent most of his legal career as a personal injury lawyer.

But it was ultimately his other job, owning taxi medallions (once worth millions) and operating taxi companies, that heavily contributed to Cohen’s financial success.

Before the rise of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft in the mid-late 2010s, owning taxi medallions was a lucrative business. In 2013, at their peak, the metal plates sold for $1m. Cohen and his wife, Laura Shusterman, owned at least 20 by then.

But the taxi medallion business took a nosedive when ride-sharing apps became popular. By 2017, Cohen owned at least 34 medallions, but at that point, they were worth less than $200,000, according to a report from The Real Deal.

Michael Cohen is cross examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche on May 20 2024
Michael Cohen is cross examined by defense lawyer Todd Blanche on May 20 2024 (REUTERS)

On top of the dwindling value of his once-booming business, Cohen also racked up more than $180,000 in unpaid taxes on his taxicab companies, Bloomberg reported in 2018.

Beyond the taxi business, Cohen’s other business dealings in real estate are slightly muddied.

One profile in The New York Times found that, even after reviewing thousands of pages of public documents, much of Cohen’s dealings “often operated in the backwaters of the financial and legal worlds”.

Donald Trump’s attorney and ‘fixer’

Cohen worked for Mr Trump for approximately 20 years, serving as executive vice president and special counsel to the Trump Organization.

The former lawyer testified that he accepted a $375,000 offer to serve in that role and never went back to his former law firm.

When he wasn’t working for Mr Trump, Cohen said he was doing consulting and legal work – he estimated he made approximately $4m from that.

Michael Cohen, personal lawyer for President-elect Donald Trump, gets into an elevator at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016
Michael Cohen, personal lawyer for President-elect Donald Trump, gets into an elevator at Trump Tower, December 12, 2016 (Getty Images)

At Mr Trump’s hush money trial, Cohen testified that, in 2016, his former boss directed him to pay Ms Daniels $130,000 to keep her quiet about an alleged extramarital affair. It was part of a greater effort to catch and kill negative stories about the former president leading up to the presidential election.

Cohen arranged the payment himself and testified that he worked out a deal with Mr Trump and the Trump Organization to be paid back in $35,000 monthly increments – allegedly misrepresented as part of his legal services.

The monthly payments were based on a total reimbursement of $420,000 – $130,000 was to repay Cohen for the hush money to Ms Daniels, $50,000 was to go to a tech company that Cohen worked with on behalf of Mr Trump, $60,000 was added as a bonus for Cohen and $180,000 for tax purposes.

Cohen admitted on the stand that he “stole” money from the Trump Organization by pocketing $30,000 of the $50,000 owed to the tech company because he was “angered” at having his bonus cut.

“It was almost like self-help,” Cohen testified. “...I had not only protected [Mr Trump] to the best that I could but I had also laid out money to Red Finch a year and a half earlier, and again, $130,000 to have my bonus cut by two-thirds was very upsetting to say the least.”

Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump is sworn in before testifying before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019
Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump is sworn in before testifying before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 (Getty Images)

Cohen’s years-long worth of backdoor business dealing allegations then came to a head later that year when he was indicted for concealing more than $4m in personal income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), making false statements to a bank in connection to a $500,000 home equity loan and paying Ms Daniels hush money which was ultimately intended to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen pleaded guilty to the charges, was disbarred and was forced to pay $50,000.

Author and podcast host

In the years after pleading guilty to the federal charges, Cohen has made his money from podcasts and books telling his story about his dealings with the former president turned foe.

During courtroom testimony at the hush money trial, Cohen said that he had made roughly $4.4m from his books Disloyal: a Memoir and Revenge, his two podcasts Mea Culpa and Political Beatdown, merchandise and a few of his real estate endeavors since 2020.

This includes around $1m from the podcasts and around $3.4m from the two books.

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