Dec 12 2018

Cohen Gets 3 Years

Just about the National median, 6 Months less than the Probation Department recommended. Three additional years of Probation with Supervision (that means travel restrictions and periodic reports to a Probation Officer). Five Hundred Thousand Dollar Fine plus roughly $1.5 Million in Back Taxes and Penalties.

That works out to 1 Year per Count (Bank Fraud and Tax Evasion, 2 Counts of Campaign Fraud). Two Months on Lying to Congress (the Mueller charge) to be served concurrently.

All in all, in line with the Prosecutor’s sentencing recommendations considering that Mueller was very happy with his level of co-operation while the Southern District of New York was not at all as Cohen refused to talk about crimes other than the ones he was charged with.

Actually quite lenient considering that they didn’t bring all the charges that the could have.

Cohen will surrender on March 6th 2019.

Flynn has yet to be sentenced, Mueller has recommended no jail time in his case. There are people I know who think the Judge should depart upward from that on the basis that Flynn clearly knew what he was doing was illegal (he’s charged with 1 count of Lying to the FBI) and at least some jail time is appropriate.

That leaves Manafort. Given the actual betrayal of his co-operation agreement those same people expect him to be made an example of, with maximum sentences on all counts AND the hung charges reinstated with additional counts entered against him. He will die in jail.

Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison for crimes committed while working for Trump
By Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, Washington Post
December 12, 2018

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen to three years in prison for financial crimes and lying to Congress, as the disgraced former “fixer” apologized for his conduct but also said he felt it was his duty to cover up the “dirty deeds” of his former boss.

Cohen made an emotional, teary apology to U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III, taking responsibility for crimes that included tax violations, lying to a bank, and buying the silence during the 2016 campaign of women who alleged affairs with the future president.

“My weakness could be characterized as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump,” Cohen told the packed courtroom, standing at a podium where he would at times become emotional and pause to regain his composure.

Pauley said Cohen’s sentence should reflect the competing interests of the Cohen case — punishing those who repeatedly break the law, and rewarding those who cooperate and provide truthful testimony.

“Our democratic institutions depend upon the honesty of our citizenry in dealing with the government,” Pauley said, calling his crimes serious, particularly given his profession.

“As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. Tax evasion undercuts the government’s ability to provide essential services upon which we all depend,” the judge said. “While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

“Mr. Cohen selected the information he disclosed to the government. This court cannot agree with the defendant’s assertion that no jail time is warranted. In fact this court firmly believes that a significant term of imprisonment is fully justified in this highly publicized case to send a message,” the judge said.

Cohen’s lawyers have said he was in “close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel” when he prepared his false testimony to Congress about a possible Trump Tower project in Moscow and that he acted at Trump’s direction in paying off the women.

Jeannie Rhee, part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution team, told the judge that Cohen “has endeavored to account for his criminal conduct in numerous ways,” providing “credible and reliable information about core Russia-related issues under investigation.”

Rhee said she could not go into detail about the ongoing Russia investigation, but said Cohen was “helpful” to the probe. Cohen, she said, was “careful to note what he knows and what he doesn’t know . . . Mr. Cohen has sought to tell us the truth, and that is of utmost value to us.”

Nicolas Roos, a federal prosecutor in New York, was far more critical of Cohen, saying he “quite brazenly stole millions of dollars in income from the IRS.”

Roos urged the judge to give Cohen a significant amount of time in prison, as punishment for having “eroded faith in the electoral process and the rule of law.”

The prosecutor urged the judge to send a message with his sentence of Cohen, that “even powerful and privileged individuals cannot violate these laws with impunity.”

Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years After Implicating Trump in Hush-Money Scandal
By Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, The New York Times
Dec. 12, 2018

Michael D. Cohen, the former lawyer for President Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday morning for his role in a hush-money scandal that could threaten Mr. Trump’s presidency by implicating him in a scheme to buy the silence of two women who said they had affairs with him.

The sentencing in federal court in Manhattan capped a startling fall for Mr. Cohen, 52, who had once hoped to work by Mr. Trump’s side in the White House but ended up a central figure in the inquiry into payments to a porn star and a former Playboy model before the 2016 election.

Judge William H. Pauley III said Mr. Cohen had committed a “smorgasbord” of crimes involving “deception” and motivated by “personal greed and ambition.”

“As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better,” the judge said.

Before being sentenced, Mr. Cohen grew emotional as he spoke of taking responsibility for his acts. He said that his “weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump” and that he had been “living in a personal and mental incarceration” since the day he started working for Mr. Trump.

“Today is the day I am getting my freedom back,” he said.

Mr. Cohen then apologized to the public: “You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust.”

Federal agents raided Mr. Cohen’s office and home in April, and he later turned on Mr. Trump, making the remarkable admission in court that Mr. Trump had directed him to arrange the payments.

Mr. Trump at first denied knowing anything about the payments, but then acknowledged that he had known about them. This week, he insisted that the payments were “a simple private transaction” — not election-related spending subject to campaign-finance laws.

He also maintained that even if the hush-money payments were campaign transactions in violation of election regulations, that should be considered only a civil offense, not a criminal one.

Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison

A contrite Michael Cohen on Wednesday received three years in prison for a series of tax fraud and lying charges, sending another former Donald Trump associate to jail.

Cohen’s sentence is not as large as the four-plus years that federal prosecutors in New York wanted, but it nonetheless stands out as the biggest punishment to date tied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In the courtroom Wednesday, Cohen was visibly emotional. At various points he broke down, his voice cracking while he read a prepared statement he had printed out.

“Today is the day that I am getting my freedom back,” Cohen told U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley, a Bill Clinton appointee who minutes later handed down the prison sentence. “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired.”

In addition to the prison time, Cohen will have to forfeit $500,000 in assets and pay $1.393 million in restitution.

Cohen, who has had a relationship with Trump dating back a dozen years, used his time before the court to hit back at the president’s recent declaration that his former attorney was “weak.” Cohen said he agreed with Trump’s assessment but noted his “weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump.”

“Time and time again I felt it as my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,” Cohen said, standing before his whole family in the courtroom. Both his mother and father cried at points during the hearing.

Cohen earlier this summer pleaded guilty to a slate of eight charges of tax evasion, financial fraud and campaign finance violations. Trump himself was implicated in the campaign finance crimes, with prosecutors saying he directed Trump in hush money payments designed to sway the 2016 presidential election. Cohen also later pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about work he did during the election on an aborted Trump Tower project in Russia.

The judge on Wednesday slapped Cohen with a $50,000 fine for lying to Congress, explaining that the penalty was meant “to recognize the gravity of the harm of lying to Congress in matters of national importance.” Two months of his three-year sentence are also tied to the the lying to Congress charge.

Although Cohen’s sentence is the largest handed down to date for anyone targeted in Mueller’s probe, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is expected to receive far more time in prison. The longtime GOP lobbyist will learn his fate early next year from a pair of federal judges and is likely spending decades in prison following his conviction earlier this summer on bank and tax fraud charges in Virginia and a separate guilty plea in Washington.