Feds say Co­hen de­serves prison

Trump’s ex-lawyer co­op­er­ated in in­ves­ti­ga­tion into hush money pay­ments

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer lawyer, Michael Co­hen, de­serves a sub­stan­tial prison sen­tence de­spite his co­op­er­a­tion in a hush money pay­ment case that im­pli­cated the pres­i­dent, fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said Fri­day.

Court 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 a vi­tal wit­ness who once said he’d “take a bul­let” for the pres­i­dent but who in re­cent months has be­come a prime an­tag­o­nist. He is to be sen­tenced next week.

They fil­ings re­veal that Co­hen told pros­e­cu­tors he and Trump dis­cussed a po­ten­tial meet­ing with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on the side­lines of the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly in 2015, shortly af­ter Trump an­nounced his can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent.

In a foot­note, spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s team writes that Co­hen con­ferred with Trump “about con­tact­ing the Rus­sia gov­ern­ment be­fore reach­ing out to gauge Rus­sia’s in­ter­est in such a meet­ing,” though it never took place.

An ad­di­tional fil­ing was ex­pected later Fri­day in the case of for­mer Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort, who pros­e­cu­tors say lied to them even af­ter agree­ing to co­op­er­ate.

Pros­e­cu­tors in Co­hen’s case said that even though he co­op­er­ated in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into hush money pay­ments made to two women who said they had sex with Trump, he nonethe­less de­serves to spend time in prison.

“Co­hen did pro­vide in­for­ma­tion to law en­force­ment, in­clud­ing in­for­ma­tion that as­sisted the Spe­cial Coun­sel’s Of­fice,” they said. “But Co­hen’s de­scrip­tion of those ef­forts is over­stated in some re­spects and in­com­plete in oth­ers.”

In meet­ings with Mueller’s team, Co­hen “pro­vided in­for­ma­tion about his own con­tacts with Rus­sian in­ter­ests dur­ing the cam­paign and dis-

cus­sions with oth­ers in the course of mak­ing those con­tacts,” the court doc­u­ments said .

Co­hen pro­vided pros­e­cu­tors with a “de­tailed ac­count” of his in­volve­ment, along with the in­volve­ment of oth­ers, in ef­forts dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to com­plete a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow, the doc­u­ments said. He also pro­vided in­for­ma­tion about at­tempts by Rus­sian na­tion­als to reach Trump’s cam­paign, they said.

How­ever, in the crimes to

which he pleaded guilty in Au­gust, he was mo­ti­vated “by per­sonal greed and re­peat­edly used his power and in­flu­ence for de­cep­tive ends.”

Pros­e­cu­tors said the court’s Pro­ba­tion Depart­ment es­ti­mated that fed­eral sen­tenc­ing guide­lines call for Co­hen to serve at least four years in prison. They said that “re­flects Co­hen’s ex­ten­sive, de­lib­er­ate and se­ri­ous crim­i­nal con­duct.”

Pros­e­cu­tors say Co­hen “al­ready en­joyed a priv­i­leged life,” and that “his de­sire for even greater wealth and in­flu­ence pre­cip­i­tated an ex­ten­sive course of crim­i­nal con­duct.”

RICHARD DREW—AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Michael Co­hen, for­mer lawyer to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, leaves his apart­ment build­ing on New York’s Park Av­enue, Fri­day, Dec. 7, 2018.

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