President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen is hiring Guy Petrillo, a former chief of the criminal division of the US attorney's office in Manhattan and an experienced trial lawyer, a source familiar confirmed.
The shift in legal strategy comes as Cohen is contemplating whether to cooperate with investigators.
The source said all the paperwork may not have been finalized just yet.
Another source confirmed the two had met to discuss taking Cohen on as a client. Petrillo has not responded to requests for comment.
Vanity Fair was first to report that Cohen has hired Petrillo.
Petrillo is a well-respected former prosecutor who has ties to the same US attorney's office that is investigating Cohen. He was an assistant US attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1990 until 1997. While there he overlapped with Robert Khuzami, the deputy US attorney overseeing the Cohen raid.
After a decade in private practice, Petrillo returned to the US attorney's office in January 2008 and, until October 2009, was chief of the criminal division, where he had broad oversight of all investigations. He was recruited by Michael Garcia, who was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush.
Petrillo left government and set up his own boutique law firm focusing on representing individuals under criminal investigation.
He partnered with Joshua Klein, an experienced white-collar attorney who worked 13 years in the US attorney's office investigating high-profile financial fraud, and Nelson Boxer, a former mob prosecutor from the same office.
The lawyers are experienced handling high-profile matters. Petrillo and Klein are representing amfAR, the AIDS charity, in the investigation by the Manhattan US attorney's office into transactions involving the charity and Harvey Weinstein.
Petrillo and Klein also represent a former trader who was recently acquitted of eight charges of securities fraud and wire fraud. The jury deadlocked on one count of conspiracy, and a retrial is set for July. It isn't clear if that is a factor in taking on Cohen as a client.