Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s ex-personal lawyer has sent to three years in jail for lying to Congress and having a part in hush money payments
Cohen pled guilty to campaign finance violations connected to payments to silence two women claiming to have had affairs with Trump in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. His defence hoped this would win him the judge’s leniency but the opposite happened.
US district Judge Willaim Pauley thought his crimes showed a pattern of questionable conduct before ordering him to report to prison next March to serve a 36-month term.
‘His sentence will be the longest thus far for anyone involved with the President or stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election,’ according to CNN.
Federal agents raided Cohen’s office and home in April, and he later turned on the president, making the remarkable admission in court that Trump had directed him to arrange the payments.
Trump has denied the alleged affairs, with porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, and dismissed the six-figure payments to them as a ‘simple private transaction’ – a change in his story, having previously denied all knowledge of them, adds The Guardian.
Cohen letting loose on Trump: “Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds”
Cohen letting loose on Trump: "Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds"— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) December 12, 2018
The New York Times says it marks ‘a startling fall’ for the president’s one-time fixer turned enemy number one, ‘who had once hoped to work by Trump’s side in the White House’.
The case has also become a proxy battle between Trump and Mueller.
While Cohen’s part in hush money payments has proved thorny for Trump, his comments about Trump’s possible connections with Russia are by far the greater threat to the president.
Last month, in a case brought by Mueller, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the duration of negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, as well as about the extent of Trump’s involvement.
COHEN rep Lanny Davis says he’s ready to talk to Congress about Trump *after* Mueller finishes his investigation, suggests there’s more to tell. pic.twitter.com/NOlciiBSqx— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 12, 2018
Others connected to the president who have pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation, include Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, but none were as close to the president for as long as Cohen.
The White House offered no comment yesterday on Cohen, but pointed reporters to a tweet Trump posted last week, saying: ‘He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.’