KEY POINTS

  • Trump believed Don. Jr. could handle life in prison better than Ivanka: Cohen
  • Ivanka and Don. Jr. reportedly misrepresented the value of the Trump SoHo hotels to investors and buyers
  • Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. dropped the case against the Trump children in August 2012 

Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has claimed that the former president instructed him to make sure that his son Don. Jr. would go to prison instead of his daughter Ivanka if they were indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Speaking to MSNBC on Saturday, Cohen said Trump made the request when his children came close to being indicted in 2012 on federal fraud charges for misleading investors and buyers about how well the Trump SoHo hotels were selling. 

"You may recall that there was the district attorney's case here for Trump Soho where it was either Don or Ivanka was in very big trouble as a result of lying about the number of units that had been sold," Cohen told MSNBC host Alex Witt. 

"And Donald said it to me – I mean I wouldn't say it if it wasn't said directly to me – he goes 'if one or the other has to go to prison, make sure that it's Don because Don would be able to handle it,'" he said.

In 2012, investigators obtained several emails where Ivanka Trump and Don. Jr. were discussing how to “coordinate false information” they had presented to investors. In a separate email, Don. Jr. also reassured a broker that no one would find out about them misrepresenting the property’s value to buyers, four people who saw the emails told the Business Insider

In separate interviews, both Ivanka and Don. Jr also claimed 55% to 60% of units had been sold. However, data filed with state and federal agencies showed that only 15% to 30% of the condo’s units had been bought, The New York Times reported.

In May 2012, Donald Trump brought in his longtime personal defense attorney Marc Kasowitz to assist his children in the investigation. Kasowitz later donated $25,000 to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s re-election campaign while the probe was still on, according to the report.

Vance returned the donation shortly after receiving it and just before Kasowitz met with the district attorney and two senior prosecutors to discuss the case against the Trump children. 

Vance dropped the investigation three months later, in August 2012.  

Michael Cohen, Trump's disgraced former personal lawyer, has written a tell-all book Michael Cohen, Trump's disgraced former personal lawyer, has written a tell-all book Photo: AFP / COREY SIPKIN