‘Cohen managed to commit a panoply of serious crimes, all while holding himself out as a licensed attorney and upstanding member of the bar…’
(Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times) Michael Cohen, the longtime lawyer to President Donald Trump who turned on his former boss by cooperating with various state and federal investigations, should face a “substantial term of imprisonment,” according to the U.S. attorney’s office in New York.
The office, which is recommending Cohen serve about four years in prison, prosecuted him for eight charges of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations. He pleaded guilty in August and said Trump directed hush money payments to two women who said they had affairs with him years ago.
“Cohen managed to commit a panoply of serious crimes, all while holding himself out as a licensed attorney and upstanding member of the bar,” prosecutors wrote in their court filing. “His offenses strike at several pillars of our society and system of government: the payment of taxes; transparent and fair elections; and truthfulness before government and in business.”
Cohen’s lawyers previously asked federal Judge William H. Pauley III to spare Cohen prison time because of his extensive cooperation with state and federal prosecutors in New York and the special counsel’s office in Washington.
Trump scoffed at the notion earlier this week, saying in a tweet that Cohen “lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.” He did not point out any lies he believes his former lawyer told.
Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.
Another recommendation is expected in a court filing Friday from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating whether anyone from Trump’s campaign conspired with Russians to influence the 2016 presidential race.
Cohen recently pleaded guilty to one charge brought by Mueller—lying to Congress about his pursuit of a Russian real estate deal on Trump’s behalf, concealing that he worked on the proposal until after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination.
On Friday morning, before prosecutors recommended a sentence for Cohen, Trump fiercely criticized the special counsel’s office in a series of tweets.
He accused Mueller of having “big time conflicts of interest” and said one of Mueller’s top prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann, had a “horrible and vicious” past in which “he wrongly destroyed people’s lives.”
Mueller’s office is also scheduled to submit a similar court filing Friday regarding Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. Information about the Russia investigation has been closely guarded by Mueller’s office, and sentencing memos have provided some of the few public glimpses into prosecutors’ work.
Trump also implied that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should not be allowed to supervise Mueller’s work, a suggestion that came just hours before the president announced he would nominate William Barr as the new attorney general.
Barr, who served in the same role under President George H.W. Bush, would probably begin overseeing the Russia investigation if confirmed. That would contrast with his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, who recused himself because he served as a prominent Trump campaign adviser.
Manafort, the subject of Friday’s other court filing from Mueller, was convicted in August of bank fraud and tax evasion, which was connected to his work as a political consultant for Ukraine’s pro-Russia government. Manafort later pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to avoid a second trial on related charges, and he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Prosecutors subsequently said, however, that Manafort violated his plea deal by lying to them in interviews. They’re expected to detail those alleged lies in their sentencing recommendation, and they recently said Manafort could face additional charges.
Manafort is scheduled to be sentenced in March. His defense lawyers have denied that he lied to prosecutors.
Another memo was submitted Tuesday for Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period.
Prosecutors did not recommend prison time for Flynn, saying he has cooperated in multiple ongoing investigations by participating in 19 interviews and turning over his communications and other documents.
Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 18.
(c)2018 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.