Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is sentenced to a total of three years in prison for violating electoral law and lying to Congress. As the court found, Cohen paid off with money intended for Trump’s company for the silence of two women who were talking about their close relationship with Trump.
The defendant’s lawyer Guy Petrillo said in court that his client “was not lucky to work with Trump.” Petrillo also added that Cohen would like to cooperate with the investigation, but he is” suspicious of a long-term deal with the investigation “and would like to “hide himself and his family from the light of television cameras.”
52-year-old Cohen was the first person from the Trump’s team who receive such a long term in connection with the investigation of Russia’s interference in the US election of 2016. The investigation is conducted by special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Michael Cohen came to court with his family, daughter and son. On questions of journalists, coming into the courthouse, he didn’t answer. Judge William Pauley, known for its tough attitude towards the accused from among “white collar” sentenced Cohen to three years and also sentenced him to a fine.
“As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen could have known the laws better,” said the judge. Cohen himself before the announcement of the sentence noted that he takes responsibility for all the crimes charged to him. “My duty was to cover his dirty deeds,” he described his work with Trump.
The prosecution, which was represented at the trial by the Prosecutor of the southern district of New York, asked for a former Trump’s lawyer “substantial” prison term, arguing that Cohen’s decision to plead guilty “does not make him a hero.” Cohen asked not to be sentenced to imprisonment. He explained this by
the fact that he pleaded guilty and collaborated with investigators from Muller’s team.
What are the charges?
In 2016, Cohen helped arrange payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougall to keep them quiet about their intimate connections with then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Cohen, who previously said he was ready to “get shot” for Trump and worked for him for 12 years as a trustee on the most sensitive issues, has pleaded guilty to illegal payments. In addition, he said that Trump gave him instructions in the process. In response, the President said that his former lawyer was lying to get less time. He also advised no one to hire Michael Cohen if a good lawyer is required.
Daniels, according to Cohen, received from him in 2016 130 thousand dollars for silence about the connection with Trump, which they had ten years earlier. Cohen then received from the Trump’s company, in which worked as a lawyer, 420 thousand dollars of compensation.
The second woman — the former model of Playboy magazine Karen McDougall-lawyer, by his own admission, in 2016 was going to pay for the silence about the connection with Trump 120 thousand dollars through his own company. This deal, however, did not take place.
Since the information that the women were about to disclose could have had an impact on the results of the presidential election, the Prosecutor’s office considered the deal with Daniels as indirect funding for the campaign. At the same time, a private donation to the campaign, according to American laws, can not exceed $ 2,700.
The danger of this accusation for Trump is that he, according to the prosecution, knew about the illegal payments to women. Which means, like Cohen, he broke the law.
Where is the Russian intervention?
Another episode in which Cohen was sentenced is due to the fact that he was preparing Trump’s trip to Russia and the construction of “Trump Tower” in Moscow, but tried to hide this information from the investigation.
Cohen admitted in late November that in 2017 he lied to the Senate intelligence Committee about Trump’s lack of plans to build a skyscraper in the Russian capital. Later it turned out that the lawyer during the presidential campaign in the US in 2016 tried to offer this project to the Kremlin through the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov. With Peskov he could not talk, but he talked with his assistants — and on the phone and the e-mail. “Trump tower” in Moscow has not been built.
In addition, it turned out that Cohen discussed with Trump and the possible trip of the then presidential candidate to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin. This trip also did not take place. The accusation is due precisely to the fact that Cohen at the hearings in the Senate lied about the absence of Trump’s headquarters intentions to go to Moscow.
The danger for Trump is also that Cohen, as follows from Mueller’s Memorandum, provided “relevant and truthful” information that should help the investigation in the case of Russian intervention. In addition to what he said about contacts with people from Russia during the campaign 2016 and the attempts of Russians to reach the Trump’s headquarters. Cohen also admitted that he had contact with people associated with the White house in 2017-2018. At that time he was already under investigation.
Cohen is the first person from Trump’s inner circle to be jailed in a case of Russian interference in the US election 2016. The rest of the accused, in particular, the former Trump’s chief of staff Paul Manafort, the campaign lawyer George Papadopoulos and the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, were not so close to Trump.