Michael Cohen Should Get 'Substantial Prison Term,' US Attorney Says

Nellie Chapman
December 8, 2018

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations between Trump's business and powerful Russians about a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, a building that ultimately was never built. They bring the legal peril from multiple investigations closer than ever to Trump, tying him to an illegal hush money payment scheme and contradicting his claims that he had nothing to do with Russian Federation. Trump tweeted Saturday morning, referring to the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller's office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate NY charges.

In a tweet Friday, Trump claimed the sentencing document "Totally clears the President".

First, Cohen's commission of two campaign finance crimes on the eve of the 2016 election for President of the United States struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency.

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

Cohen also discussed a Moscow real estate deal that could have netted Trump's business hundreds of millions of dollars and conversations with a Russian intermediary who proposed a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as offering synergy with the campaign, prosecutors said.

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". Cohen did not follow up on the offer, the filing says. Actually, he said in his guilty plea, they continued well into the campaign, including past the point at which Trump became the Republican front runner.

Mueller said Cohen also shared information about his own contacts "with Russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts". But he says it won't be complete until Mueller issues his report.

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Castro made it clear he thinks they should wait for Mueller's full report, but said while many might be "very reluctant to go down this path... you can't ignore the evidence".

Manafort has said he believes he provided "truthful information".

In an additional filing Friday evening, prosecutors said Manafort lied about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials, including in 2018.

Cohen had been hoping prosecutors would make a similar recommendation in his case. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.

The report was expected to provide more information on Mueller's probe, but federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted the special counsel's request to file the report under seal and ordered a redacted version to be released. They said his sentence should reflect a "modest" reduction from the four to five years they said federal guidelines would suggest.

The payments are technically unrelated to the Russian Federation probe, but prosecutors painted a damning picture of the "extensive, deliberate, and serious criminal conduct" of Cohen - once a member of Trump's inner circle of trusted aides.

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.

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