Lawyers: Co­hen should not have to go to prison

Belleville News-Democrat (Sunday) - - News - BY LARRY NEUMEISTER

Lawyers for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer per­sonal lawyer, Michael Co­hen, say he should be spared prison for crimes he com­mit­ted in an abun­dance of en­thu­si­asm for his ex-boss, and they por­trayed him to a judge as a hero for co­op­er­at­ing in a probe Trump has “reg­u­larly ques­tioned pub­licly and stri­dently.”

The lawyers said in court pa­pers filed in New York late Fri­day that Co­hen, 52, has co­op­er­ated ex­ten­sively with spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller and New York state in­ves­ti­ga­tors who brought a civil law­suit against the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion and in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing Trump.

They cited the fact he met with Mueller’s team in “seven vol­un­tary in­ter­view meet­ings” that be­gan even be­fore he pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to cam­paign fi­nance and bank frauds, among other charges, and con­tin­ued through late Novem­ber.

He pleaded guilty Thurs­day to ly­ing to Congress, a charge that his lawyers said re­sulted in part from in­for­ma­tion he vol­un­tar­ily pro­vided Mueller’s team in meet­ings gov­erned by a lim­ited-use im­mu­nity agree­ment.

“Michael’s de­ci­sion to co­op­er­ate and take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for his own con­duct well re­flects his per­sonal re­solve, not­with­stand­ing past er­rors, to re-point his in­ter­nal com­pass true north to­ward a pro­duc­tive, eth­i­cal and thor­oughly law abid­ing life,” his lawyers wrote.

They say he’ll con­tinue to co­op­er­ate, though he wants to be sen­tenced as sched­uled on Dec. 12 so he can re­turn to pro­vid­ing for his fam­ily.

Be­sides his co­op­er­a­tion with Mueller, Co­hen has also pro­vided the New York state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice with doc­u­ments “con­cern­ing a sep­a­rate open in­quiry,” the lawyers wrote. They said he also has pro­vided in­for­ma­tion to the New York State Depart­ment of Tax­a­tion and Fi­nance.

Co­hen’s lawyers sought to ad­dress spec­u­la­tion over why their client has not en­tered into a for­mal co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment with prose­cu­tors, say­ing he was con­cerned that such a deal would de­lay his sen­tenc­ing.

“This per­sonal de­ci­sion does not sig­nal any in­ten­tion on Michael’s part to with­hold in­for­ma­tion or his avail­abil­ity to re­spond to ad­di­tional in­quiry. To the con­trary, he ex­pects to co­op­er­ate fur­ther,” the lawyers wrote. “But, fol­low­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of search war­rants in this case, nearly every pro­fes­sional and com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ship that he en­joyed, and a num­ber of long-stand­ing friend­ships, have van­ished.”

The lawyers por­trayed Co­hen as coura­geous for co­op­er­at­ing in Mueller’s probe while the “in­ves­ti­ga­tion – and the ra­tio­nale for its very ex­is­tence – is reg­u­larly ques­tioned pub­licly and stri­dently by the Pres­i­dent of the United States.”

“In the con­text of this raw, full-bore at­tack by the most pow­er­ful per­son in the United States, Michael, formerly a con­fi­dante and ad­viser to Mr. Trump, re­solved to co­op­er­ate, and vol­un­tar­ily took the first steps to­ward do­ing so even be­fore he was charged,” the lawyers wrote. “He took these steps, more­over, de­spite reg­u­lar pub­lic re­ports re­fer­ring to the Pres­i­dent’s con­sid­er­a­tion of par­dons and pre-par­dons in the SCO’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

JULIE JA­COB­SON AP

Michael Co­hen walks out of fed­eral court in New York on Thurs­day af­ter he pleaded guilty to ly­ing to Congress. Co­hen has since co­op­er­ated in the Robert Mueller probe.

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