Up­heaval and ac­cu­sa­tions for Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - A* - By Chad Day, Eric Tucker and Jim Mus­tian Chad Day, Eric Tucker and Jim Mus­tian are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

Ex-ad­vis­ers: In court fil­ings, pros­e­cu­tors de­tail wrongs they say for­mer Trump at­tor­ney Michael Co­hen, left, and the pres­i­dent’s for­mer cam­paign man­ager Paul Manafort com­mit­ted. De­spite Co­hen’s co­op­er­a­tion, pros­e­cu­tors want a prison sen­tence for him.

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer lawyer, Michael Co­hen, was in touch as far back as 2015 with a Rus­sian who of­fered “po­lit­i­cal syn­ergy” with the Trump elec­tion cam­paign, the fed­eral spe­cial coun­sel said Fri­day in a court fil­ing.

Fil­ings by pros­e­cu­tors from both New York and the Trump-Rus­sia spe­cial coun­sel’s of­fice laid out for the first time de­tails of the co­op­er­a­tion of Co­hen, a vi­tal wit­ness who once said he’d “take a bul­let” for the pres­i­dent but who in re­cent months has be­come a prime an­tag­o­nist and pledged to come clean with the govern­ment.

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said Fri­day that Co­hen de­serves a sub­stan­tial prison sen­tence de­spite his co­op­er­a­tion with in­ves­ti­ga­tors. He is to be sen­tenced next week, and may face sev­eral years in prison.

In an ad­di­tional fil­ing Fri­day evening, pros­e­cu­tors said for­mer Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort lied to them about his con­tacts with a Rus­sian as­so­ciate and Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials. Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to sev­eral counts, vi­o­lated his plea agree­ment by then telling “mul­ti­ple dis­cernible lies” to pros­e­cu­tors, they said.

In hours of meet­ings with pros­e­cu­tors, Co­hen de­tailed his in­ti­mate in­volve­ment in an ar­ray of episodes, in­clud­ing some that di­rectly touch the pres­i­dent, that are at the cen­ter of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into cam­paign fi­nance vi­o­la­tions and po­ten­tial col­lu­sion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and the Krem­lin.

In one of the fil­ings, Mueller de­tails how Co­hen spoke to a Rus­sian who “claimed to be a ‘trusted per­son’ in the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion who could of­fer the cam­paign ‘po­lit­i­cal syn­ergy.’ ” The fil­ing says the meet­ing never hap­pened.

Co­hen also dis­cussed a Moscow real es­tate deal that could have net­ted Trump’s busi­ness hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars and con­ver­sa­tions with a Rus­sian in­ter­me­di­ary who pro­posed a meet­ing be­tween Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin as well as of­fer­ing syn­ergy with the cam­paign, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Co­hen also de­scribed his work in con­junc­tion with Trump in or­ches­trat­ing hush money pay­ments to two women — a porn star and a Play­boy model — who said they had sex with Trump a decade ear­lier. Pros­e­cu­tors in New York, where Co­hen pleaded guilty in Au­gust in con­nec­tion with those pay­ments, said the lawyer “acted in co­or­di­na­tion and at the di­rec­tion” of Trump.

De­spite such spe­cific al­le­ga­tions of Trump’s ac­tions, the pres­i­dent quickly tweeted after news of the fil­ings: “To­tally clears the Pres­i­dent. Thank you!”

Pros­e­cu­tors in Co­hen’s case said that even though he co­op­er­ated in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the hush money pay­ments to women he none­the­less de­served to spend time in prison.

Richard Drew / As­so­ci­ated Press

Richard Drew / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pros­e­cu­tors say Michael Co­hen, Pres­i­dent Trump’s for­mer per­sonal lawyer, should serve a “sub­stan­tial” term in prison.

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