Prosecutors didn’t get everything they wanted from a federal judge in Michael Cohen’s sentencing, but they got most of it. Cohen got slapped with a three-year prison sentence, a little more than half of what the Department of Justice requested:
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 12, 2018
An emotional Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to TK after pleading guilty to nine federal charges stemming from his failure to report millions of dollars in income making secret payments to women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
One of the charges Cohen pleaded guilty to included a separate charge, stemming from Robert Mueller’s probe into Tump’s potential collusion with Russia, that he lied to Congress about his dealings with a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow. …
Cohen pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 to a charge that he lied to Congress in an attempt to cover up efforts to build the Moscow tower.
His legal troubles also include a hush-payment Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the amount of $130,000 and another to porn actress Karen McDougal for more than $25,000. Both said they had affairs with Trump before his election, something the White House denies.
Despite Cohen’s cooperation with Mueller’s investigation, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York argued that he did not confess everything he knew.
It could have been worse. At 52 years old, Cohen will have plenty of time to make amends after he gets out of prison, or to sell his story, or both. That makes three people who have locked-in prison sentences in the scandals surrounding Donald Trump. Politico calls it the longest prison sentence yet in connection with Robert Mueller’s special-counsel probe, but that’s a little premature:
Cohen’s sentence is not as large as the four-plus years that federal prosecutors in New York wanted, but it nonetheless stands out as the biggest punishment to date tied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
George Papadopoulos only got a two-week stretch, but the only reason this stands out as the highest so far is that Paul Manafort remains to be sentenced. His original plea deal with Mueller would have left him in prison for most of the rest of his life, plus there’s still a pending sentence in a separate conviction. He’ll likely get eight to ten years running concurrently, or possibly more. Manafort’s lawyers indicated yesterday that they may not challenge Mueller’s contention that Manafort continued to lie even after getting a deal:
Earlier in the day, attorneys for President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort suggested they might not challenge special counsel Robert Mueller’s contrasting conclusion that Mr. Manafort lied to investigators and breached a plea agreement. Mr. Manafort faces eight to 10 years in prison based on a conviction in a federal trial in Virginia, and up to 10 years on additional charges to which he pleaded guilty in Washington, D.C.
Richard Westling, a lawyer for Mr. Manafort, said in court it was possible that no hearing about the evidence of Mr. Manafort’s alleged lies would be necessary—meaning Mr. Manafort could be sentenced without credit for any cooperation.
This doesn’t have too many silver linings for Trump. His personal attorney will go to prison in part over work performed on his behalf, which under old political rules might have been a political liability. The conviction doesn’t have anything to do with Russia collusion, but it does have to do with a scheme to keep former mistresses silent during a presidential campaign, which may or may not be (a) a private matter, (b) a civil regulatory issue, or (c) a big-time campaign finance violation that rises to the level of impeachment.
At best, this just takes Cohen off the front pages for a while. And that’s only if he keeps his mouth shut in public. If Cohen starts serving his sentence immediately and accrues good-behavior credits, however, he might manage to get out around the time of the next presidential election, which … won’t produce any silver linings for Trump, either.
Update: He’s pretty chipper for an attorney who cost his client almost $300,000, isn’t he?
"Michael Cohen was sentenced today," said attorney Michael Avenatti, who noted Cohen will report to prison on the same day a lawsuit was filed on behalf of adult film star Stormy Daniels. "Donald Trump is next." https://t.co/22QD0CSkHY pic.twitter.com/WMb0CCuwCM
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 12, 2018