Michael Cohen vows to gag himself during Trump trial days after pushing unflattering nickname for ex-president

Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen announced he had voluntarily “gagged” himself ahead of his expected testimony in the historic hush money trial, where a judge imposed a gag order on the former president for attacking Cohen and others.

“Despite not being the gagged defendant, out of respect for Judge Merchan and the prosecutors, I will cease posting anything about Donald on my X…account or on the Mea Culpa Podcast until after my trial testimony,” Mr Cohen tweeted on Wednesday.

“See you all in a month (or more),” he added.

Cohen’s decision comes after much hostile back-and-forth between the former “fixer” and Mr Trump — the latter of whom is barred by a court order from making public statements about potential witnesses or staff of the judge or Manhattan district attorney’s office during the criminal proceeding.

Days before his announcement, Cohen branded Mr Trump as “Von S***zInPantz” on his social media. On his podcasts, before the Manhattan criminal trial began, Cohen remarked on the frequent death threats that he has received since leaving Trump’s orbit — and said they had ramped up ahead of the trial.

Meanwhile, despite a gag order, the hush money defendant has repeatedly bashed Cohen’s credibility, accusing him of “lying”.

“When are they going to look at all the lies that Cohen did in the last trial? He got caught lying. Pure lying. And when are they going to look at that,” Mr Trump said outside the Manhattan courthouse on Monday.

The following day, Judge Juan Merchan held a hearing over the Manhattan DA’s office accusations that the defendant violated the gag order at least 10 times over his online posts about Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels, another probable witness.

In one post, Mr Trump had referred to the pair as “two sleaze bags” on Truth Social.

A judge has yet to decide on the accusations. The Manhattan prosecutor asked that Mr Trump pay a $10,000 fine, noting that he hadn’t “yet” requested jail time for his alleged breach. The threat didn’t deter Mr Trump, who moments later lashed out about Judge Merchan and his “kangaroo court” on Truth Social.

The former president and his allies have called Cohen’s credibility into question, citing his guilty plea to making false statements to Congress and a judge recently suggesting that he had committed perjury. But Cohen has insisted that “truth will prevail.”

Last month, the judge in the civil fraud case against Mr Trump, his sons, and the Trump Organization noted the doubt around Cohen’s believability but said he ultimately found Cohen’s testimony “credible.” In the New York civil fraud case, the judge found that Mr Trump breached gag orders.

The relationship between Michael Cohen and Donald Trump wasn’t always so acrimonious.

Cohen worked as Mr Trump’s personal attorney long before he became president in 2016.

The friendship fizzled seemingly after Cohen began suffering his own legal troubles — he pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2018. Cohen had also expressed willingness to cooperate in the Mueller probe.

Since then, Cohen has become a subject of Mr Trump’s wrath.

Speaking to Congress in 2019, Cohen called his once-boss a “cheat” and a “con man.”

He testified: “I have lied. But I am not a liar. And I have done bad things, but I am not a bad man. I have fixed things, but I am no longer your fixer, Mr. Trump.