Michael Cohen deserves substantial prison time, prosecutors say

Lamar Ellis
December 9, 2018

He explained that the Manafort filing reveals the former Trump campaign chairman is not cooperating in the investigation, and the Cohen memo doesn't reveal anything new about hush money payments to women who allegedly had sexual encounters with Trump.

In response to the two court filings made by federal prosecutors against Michael Cohen on Friday, President Donald Trump took to the internet.

The documents turned up the heat on Trump by confirming prosecutors' belief of his involvement in a campaign finance violation, while adding to a growing list of contacts between campaign aides and Russians in 2015 and 2016, legal experts said.

Despite such specific allegations of Trump's actions, the president quickly tweeted after news of the filings: "Totally clears the President".

The campaign finance violations to which Cohen plead guilty - unrelated to the Russian Federation investigation - concerned hush payments he made on Trump's behalf to alleged former lovers of the president, including porn star Stormy Daniels.

It said Cohen made the payments in "coordination with and the direction of" Trump.

"Time for the Witch Hunt to END!" They said that "reflects Cohen's extensive, deliberate and serious criminal conduct". Prosecutors wrote that Cohen had implicated Trump in the arrangement of hush-money payments to women during the 2016 election.

Alan Dershowitz joined the "Fox & Friends" co-hosts Saturday morning to share his key takeaways from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's court filings.

Later, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in two statements that the Manafort filing "says absolutely nothing about the President" and the Cohen filings "tell us nothing of value that wasn't already known".

Yet on Wednesday Mr Cohen, for years Mr Trump's "fixer", will be sentenced for the crimes of bank and tax fraud, and for lying to Congress - for which he pled guilty.

Cohen pleaded guilty to financial crimes in a federal court in NY in August and last week pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a case brought by Mueller. He has said he did so to stay in sync with Trump's political messaging, and that he consulted with the White House while preparing to testify to Congress. The Manhattan prosecutors' charges against Cohen stemmed from a referral from Mueller's team.

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Trump also has focused his criticism specifically on Cohen, calling him a liar who is making up stories to convince the government to ease his sentence in the New York City crimes to which he's also pleaded guilty.

The special counsel's office said Cohen had provided "useful information" about its ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as "relevant information" about his contacts with people connected to the White House between 2017 and 2018. Mueller's memo says Cohen has met with the special counsel's office in seven different sessions to provide valuable information.

In what appeared to be a new disclosure, Mueller said that around November 2015, Cohen spoke with a Russian national who could offer the campaign "political synergy" and "synergy on a government level".

The filing says the meeting never happened.

Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to several counts, violated his plea agreement by then telling "multiple discernible lies" to prosecutors, they said.

The filings also exposed lies told by Manafort during interviews with prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Federal prosecutors said Friday that Cohen deserves a substantial prison sentence despite his cooperation with investigators.

Cohen had been hoping prosecutors would make a similar recommendation in his case.

NY prosecutors, however, were far harsher in their assessment of Cohen's character, saying he should get only a modest reduction in an expected prison sentence of about five years.

"With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election", the prosecutors in NY said.

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