Feds recommend ‘substantial’ prison time for ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
Manhattan federal prosecutors on Friday said that President Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer committed campaign finance crimes “in coordination with and at the direction of Individual 1” — a reference to President Trump.
It was the first time the feds directly linked Trump to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougle, a fact noted by former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
“Just to make it crystal clear, New York federal prosecutors concluded that the President of the United States committed a felony,” he tweeted.
Both women said they had affairs with Trump in 2006, shortly after his third wife Melania gave birth to their only child together.
The president has called them both liars.
The amounts paid, at least $130,000 to each woman, exceed the legal level of donations that can be made to aid a campaign.
They also said Cohen should serve “a substantial term of imprisonment despite his cooperation with their investigation.
Cohen’s crimes “were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life,” they said.
In a blistering 40-page document filed in Manhattan federal court Friday roughly 15 minutes before a 5 p.m. deadline, prosecutors outlined Cohen’s roles in a variety of fraudulent schemes, including bank fraud.
Prosecutors also said that the judge who will sentence Cohen next week fine him $500,000 and order the forfeiture of assets.
The feds noted Cohen’s cooperation, but only asked for a “modest” reduction in his sentence.
“While the Office agrees that Cohen should receive credit for his assistance in the [special counsel] investigation, that credit should not approximate the credit a traditional cooperating witness would receive, given, among other reasons, Cohen’s affirmative decision not to become one,” they wrote.
“For these reasons, the Office respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment,” they said, adding that he be granted “a modest downward variance” from the 51 to 63 months in prison he is facing.
The documents offered a harsh explanation for Cohen’s crimes, saying he was motivated by greed.
“While Cohen – as his own submission makes clear – already enjoyed a privileged life, his desire for even greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct.”
The feds also questioned Cohen’s recent statements that he did what he did out of loyalty to Trump.
“This was not a blind act of loyalty,” they said of some of his payments to women in violation of campaign finance laws.
“His actions suggest that Cohen relished the status of ultimate fixer – a role that he embraced as recently as May 2018. Cohen was driven by a desire to further ingratiate himself with a potential future President—for whose political success Cohen himself claimed credit—and arranged for the payments in an attempt to increase his power and influence.”
In a separate filing in federal court in Washington, DC, special counsel Robert Mueller takes a less hardline stance saying his office doesn’t have a recommendation on how much time Cohen should serve.
It also asks that whatever sentence the judge imposes on Cohen for lying to Congress should be served concurrently his crimes over the hush-money payments.
“The sentence imposed should reflect the fact that lying to federal investigators has real consequences, especially where the defendant lied to investigators about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance,” they wrote.
Cohen pleaded guilty to financial crimes in a federal court in New York in August, and last week he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in a case brought by Mueller.
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