Who is the 'Taxi King' Gene Freidman?

CNN's Brynn Gingras explains New York taxi kingpin Evegny "Gene" Freidman's connection to President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen.

Posted: May 24, 2018 12:26 PM
Updated: May 24, 2018 12:37 PM

A New York taxi kingpin and business partner of President Donald Trump's attorney Michael Cohen has agreed to cooperate with the government, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times said the agreement for Evegny "Gene" Freidman would allow him to avoid jail time and would have him work with prosecutors in both the state and federal investigations.

Word of the Freidman agreement came just days after news broke that Jeffrey Yohai, the son-in-law of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, had reached a plea agreement.

Freidman, known as New York's "Taxi King," was indicted on state charges last year by then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who alleged Freidman and others failed to pay $5 million in MTA surcharges between 2012 and 2015.

Freidman's agreement, given his ties to Cohen as a business partner, may put still more pressure on the Trump associate and attorney, who faced federal raids in April before the Justice Department announced it had been conducting a months-long investigation into him.

"I plead guilty to a felony. I am humbled and shamed. This is me taking responsibility for my actions. Michael is a dear, dear personal friend and a passive client, that's it. This is a very difficult day for myself and my family," Freidman said to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who read the statement out loud on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

Cohen denied on Twitter Wednesday that he was partners with Freidman "in this business or any other."

CNN previously reported the FBI searches included a request for documents related to Cohen's ownership of taxi medallions and sought information about taxi owners who had financial dealings with Cohen.

Cohen's role as Trump's personal attorney has come under increasing scrutiny, due in large part to the payment he conceded facilitating to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani later admitted that Trump had repaid Cohen.

News of the raids in early April prompted Trump's outrage, as he called the searches "an attack on our country."

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