NEW YORK - President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, who once said he would do anything to protect the president, told ABC News in an interview released Monday that he now puts ‘‘family and country first.’’
In Cohen’s first interview since federal agents raided his home and hotel room as part of a probe into his personal business dealings, Michael Cohen was asked what he would do if prosecutors forced him to choose between protecting the president and protecting his family.
‘‘My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will,’’ Cohen was quoted as saying by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an off-camera interview that was reported on ‘‘Good Morning America.’’ ‘'I put family and country first.’’
Cohen added that if he is charged with anything in the probe, he would defer to his new lawyer in the case, Guy Petrillo, for advice.
Stephanopoulos said he asked Cohen how he might respond if the president or his legal team came after him and tried to discredit the work he did for Trump over the last decade.
‘‘I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy,’’ Cohen was quoted as saying. ‘‘I am not a villain of this story, and I will not allow others to try to depict me that way.’’
Cohen was Trump’s self-described fixer and a key player in the Trump Organization for more than a decade. His home, office and hotel room were raided in April as part of a probe by federal prosecutors in New York into his personal business dealings.
Investigators are also looking into a $130,000 payment made as part of a confidentiality agreement with porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which Trump denies.
Cohen, in the past, has said that payment was made on his own initiative. But in the ABC News interview, he said he couldn’t comment on advice of his lawyer.
‘‘I want to answer. One day I will answer,’’ he was quoted as saying.