Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to testify before US Oversight Committee

He will appear before the committee on Tuesday February 7th

Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen to testify before US Oversight Committee

Michael Cohen (front right) walks out of a court building in New York in December 2018 | Image: Wang Ying/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer to US President Donald Trump, has agreed to testify before an investigative committee there next month.

He was sentenced to three years in prison last month for crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress and arranging illicit payments to silence women who threatened Mr Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.

However he will not begin his sentence until March 6th.

Prosecutors claimed Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels US$130,000 (€114,362) and helped to arrange a US$150,000 (€131,956) payment to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, so they would keep quiet about their past relationships with Mr Trump.

He denies having the affairs. The payments violated campaign finance law.

According to its published schedule, Cohen will appear before the US Committee on Oversight and Reform on Tuesday February 7th.

It is thought the proceedings could be televised.

The Committee on Oversight and Reform is the main investigative committee in the US House of Representatives.

It has authority to investigate subjects within its jurisdiction as well as "any matter" within the jurisdiction of the other standing House Committees.

US President Donald Trump | File photo

In a statement on Twitter, Cohen said: "In furtherance of my commitment to cooperate and provide the American people with answers, I have accepted the invitation by Chairman Elijah Cummings to appear publicly on February 7 before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"I look forward to having the privilege of being afforded a platform with which to give a full and credible account of the events which have transpired."

Cohen has said his "blind loyalty" to the billionaire tycoon made him feel like he had a duty to "cover up" his "dirty deeds".

He said the US president directed him to arrange hush money payments to the two women - and said the president knew it was wrong.

"I gave loyalty to someone who, truthfully, does not deserve loyalty", he said.

"He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth.

"And here is the truth: People of the United States of America, people of the world, don't believe what he is saying.

"The man doesn't tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds."

Cohen said Trump directed him to arrange hush money payments to Stormy Daniels (pictured above) and Karen McDougal | File photo

Elijah Cummings, chairman of the committee, said: "I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily.

"I want to make clear that we have no interest in inappropriately interfering with any ongoing criminal investigations, and to that end, we are in the process of consulting with Special Counsel Mueller's office.

"The committee will announce additional information in the coming weeks."

Earlier this week, Mr Cummings sent letters to the White House and the Trump Organisation - renewing a previous request from four months ago for documents related to President Trump's apparent failure to report debts and payments to Cohen to silence women alleging extramarital affairs with the president before the election.

Those documents are now due on January 22nd.