NEW YORK — A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to three years in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress, as the disgraced “fixer” apologized but said he felt it was his duty to cover up the “dirty deeds” of his former boss.
Cohen made an emotional apology to U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III, taking responsibility for what the judge called a “veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct” — crimes that included tax violations, lying to a bank and, during the 2016 campaign, buying the silence of women who claimed that they once had affairs with the future president.
The downfall of the hard-charging, high-profile lawyer has potential consequences far beyond Cohen, as authorities have alleged that Trump directed him in violating campaign finance laws. Facing his day of reckoning, Cohen laid plenty of the blame at the president’s feet, and his lawyer said he would continue to cooperate with the ongoing special counsel investigation of the president’s campaign.
“My weakness could be characterized as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump,” Cohen told the packed courtroom. He sniffled and fought back tears as he spoke, pausing occasionally to regain his composure.
Cohen had faced as much as five years and three months in prison, but Pauley said the sentence should reflect two key elements of Cohen’s case — punishing those who repeatedly break the law while rewarding those who cooperate and provide truthful testimony. Cohen has provided information to investigators about Trump and the Trump campaign, but prosecutors said he refused to tell them everything he knew.
Wednesday’s hearing marked another milestone in the FBI investigations that have engulfed the president and led to criminal convictions for his former campaign chairman, former national security adviser, and two other campaign aides.
A special counsel’s office prosecutor emphasized in court that the man who once fondly considered himself Trump’s fixer has provided useful information that speaks to the core mission of Robert S. Mueller III: determining whether anyone in the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election. That is worrisome for Trump. But, as it has throughout the investigation, Mueller’s team held its cards close, not revealing any new details about what it had learned from Cohen, or where the probe might be headed next.
More at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/michael-cohen-scheduled-to-be-sentenced-for-crimes-committed-while-working-for-trump/2018/12/11/57226ff2-fcbf-11e8-83c0-b06139e540e5_story.html