“He believes that by being the Trumpiest Trumper that Donald will protect him” and “not throw him under the bus,” Cohen told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Thursday.
But all Nauta has to do is look at what happened to others who were once in Trump’s close orbit ― including Cohen himself, who is going to court on Friday in an ongoing case involving his own legal fees.
“History repeats itself, and in this specific case, one thing that we know for certain is that Donald does not pay legal fees,” Cohen said. “Donald doesn’t pay fees at all.”
Nauta, who is Trump’s valet as well as his co-defendant, pleaded not guilty on Thursday after struggling to find an attorney to represent him. The defense lawyer he hired is reportedly being paid with funds from the former president’s PAC.
Collins asked Cohen if Nauta should “flip,” as Cohen eventually did, and turn on the former president to save himself.
“It’s not really flipping. It’s providing testimony,” Cohen explained. “He’s going to do it voluntarily or he’s going to get subpoenaed. It’s one or the other. You’re not going to not be responsive when the government wants the information from you.”
If that’s the case, he said, Nauta might want to save himself.
“If there’s something that Walt can do right now that would benefit him, then my belief is that he should probably consider it,” he said.
He also warned Nauta of exactly how Trump could leave him high and dry when it comes to those legal fees.
“There’s a pattern to what he does,” Cohen explained. “He will pay a little bit, fall behind, pay a little more, fall bigger behind.”
Eventually, he said, Trump will stop paying altogether.
“What will ultimately happen is he will leave Walt Nauta the same way he left me” and others who he has made similar promises to, Cohen said.
See his full discussion with Collins below:
Cohen spent years as a loyal Trump sideman, but eventually cooperated with investigators and pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and other charges ― all of which, he has insisted, was done on behalf of Trump.
He was sentenced to three years in prison, and emerged as a prominent critic of the former president.