President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan Wednesday to 36 months in prison for a host of financial crimes, including campaign-finance violations stemming from his payment of hush money to Trump’s alleged mistresses.
Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York urged U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III to sentence Cohen to four years in prison, while Cohen’s attorneys stressed his cooperation with investigators — despite a “raw, full-bore attack by the most powerful person in the United States” — in advocating a light sentence.
Cohen, 52, pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges, including violating campaign-finance laws by paying adult-film star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal during the 2016 campaign to remain silent about their alleged affairs with Trump. He filed those guilty pleas without entering a formal cooperation agreement with the Southern District, agreeing only to provide selective information. His cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has reportedly been more extensive.
In late November, Cohen also pled guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow in a separate case brought by Mueller in Washington, D.C. After initially testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee that plans to build a Trump Tower Moscow concluded in early 2016, Cohen conceded that those discussions, which allegedly involved Trump personally, continued until at least June 2016.
Cohen will serve his two-month sentence for lying to Congress concurrent with the three-year sentence handed down Wednesday.
In his closing statement Wednesday, Cohen explained that his “blind loyalty” to Trump “led [him] to take a path of darkness instead of light.”
Trump — who initially denied any knowledge of the hush-money payments but has recently defended them as “a simple private transaction” — has accused Cohen of lying in order to secure a lighter sentence from corrupt prosecutors who coerced him into providing false testimony.
“Michael Cohen is lying and he’s trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me,” the president told reporters outside the White House last week.