Former Trump lawyer gets three-year sentence
by Harvest Prude
Posted 12/12/18, 12:33 pm
A U.S. district judge in New York on Wednesday sentenced Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, to three years in prison on criminal charges brought by federal prosecutors and special counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to charges of campaign finance violations and tax evasion. In November, he pleaded guilty to a charge brought by Mueller’s office that he lied to Congress about Trump’s past business dealings.
Defense lawyers asked for no prison time, citing Cohen’s subsequent cooperation with investigators and saying his crimes resulted from his loyalty to Trump. In a sentencing memo Friday, New York prosecutors recommended U.S. District Judge William Pauley impose a “substantial term of imprisonment” of about four years. The memo said Cohen “sought to influence the election from the shadows” by paying hush money to two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump. Prosecutors said Cohen did not deserve much leniency and that he had not fully cooperated with the investigation. Lawyers from Mueller’s office had a more favorable view of Cohen’s cooperation, saying he had given them “relevant and useful information” about their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cohen was ordered to begin his sentence March 6.
On Monday, Trump called the payments “a simple private transaction,” disputing claims they constituted a willful violation of the law. He also tweeted that if there was any wrongdoing, it is Cohen’s “liability” as his attorney and not his.
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