Michael Cohen's business partner agrees to cooperate with the government

A business partner of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen known as the Taxi King has agreed to cooperate with the government as part of a plea deal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the proceedings.

Evgeny Freidman, 47, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a low level felony in New York state court for stealing nearly $5 million in state taxes and has agreed to cooperate in state or federal investigations. The deal, in which he will pay the state $5 million but avoid jail time, was originally reported by the New York Times.

For years, Freidman, a Russian immigrant, has managed Cohen's taxi medallions, which give owners the right to operate New York City yellow cabs. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, referred an ongoing investigation of Michael Cohen to federal prosecutors in New York.

Freidman's plea deal means he could potentially testify in any criminal case related to Cohen. Cohen has long served as a personal attorney to President Donald Trump.

Multiple people familiar with the proceedings would not say if Freidman's cooperation was specific to the on-going federal criminal investigation into Cohen.

Freidman's guilty plea was announced Tuesday by the New York Attorney General's Office. The attorney general's office and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan would not comment on whether Freidman had agreed to cooperate in any investigation.

Freidman's attorney, Patrick Egan of Fox Rothschild, also declined to comment about whether his client has agreed to cooperate in any investigation. His client was originally charged with five felonies, including tax fraud and grand larceny. Freidman pleaded guilty to evading $50,000 in taxes.

(Evgeny Freidman via Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, Egan told CNN that Freidman considered Cohen "a great friend and a wonderful client."

Freidman, a lawyer, was also disbarred earlier this month.

Newly installed state Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement, "Freidman pocketed money that should have provided much-needed investment in our transit system - and he'll now have to pay back every cent."

Cohen's attorney did not respond to a request for comment.