Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen To Serve 3 Years In Federal Prison

Michael Cohen

Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen was handed a 3-year prison sentence by a court in New York. Cohen, who once said he would take a bullet for Trump, denounced his former boss during his sentencing on Wednesday.

He becomes the first member of the President’s inner circle to be sentenced over the Robert Mueller-led inquiry, which is looking into the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election.

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in August to charges lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller and New York federal prosecutors. His crimes included lying to congress, tax evasion, and making hush payments to two women (former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels) claiming to have had sexual affairs with the President. He also admitted lying to his bank in order to obtain credit and hiding millions of dollars in income from the IRS.

Cohen told Judge William Pauley who handed him his sentence, that he was made to “follow a path of darkness rather than light” by Mr. Trump. Cohen added that “weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump” and that he felt it was his duty to cover up the dirty deeds of his former client.

The judge said the crimes committed by Cohen were “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct,” adding that “each of the crimes involved deception and each appears to have been motivated by personal greed and ambition.” He also ordered him to pay $1.39 million in restitution to the federal government, pay a fine of $100,000 and forfeit $500,000.

Cohen found himself under intense public pressure earlier this year, after FBI agents raided his office, home, and hotel room. The agents seized 8 boxes of paper files and millions of files contained in data from phones and other devices, such as external hard drives, laptop computers, and flash drives.

Guy Petrillo, defense attorney requested the court to be lenient because the defendant “came forward to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country.” The Judge said that although Cohen deserved modest credit, his cooperation with prosecutors and the court “does not wipe the slate clean.” Pauley added, “somewhere along the way Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass.”

The sentence was in line with what federal prosecutors had requested. The Justice Department had also the asked the court to give Cohen only a slight break, based on the sentencing guidelines of four to five years. Cohen is set to report to jail on March 6, 2019, and his legal team has requested he serve his sentence at the Otisville federal correctional institution in New York.

Meanwhile, the political and legal trouble facing President Trump is likely to deepen because Cohen told the court that he will continue cooperating with Mueller and federal prosecutors. He is also ready to tell Congress everything he knows if asked, according to one of his legal advisers.