Law & the Courts

Prosecutors Recommend ‘Substantial’ Prison Term for Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen leaves federal court in Manhattan, May 30, 2018. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen should serve a “substantial term of imprisonment” of roughly four years for lying to Congress, federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memo filed Friday.

Cohen, 52, has pled guilty to a number of financial crimes, including campaign-finance violations, and to misleading Congress — offenses that “marked a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life,” prosecutors wrote in the memo submitted to Judge William Pauley III.

The memo noted that federal sentencing guidelines suggest a term of 51 to 63 months in prison for Cohen’s crime, but suggested that he serve a slightly lesser sentence to reward him for providing information that “was ultimately credible and useful” to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

That recommendation, however, was tempered with the stipulation that “Cohen repeatedly declined to provide full information about the scope of any additional criminal conduct in which he may have engaged or had knowledge.”

Cohen revealed last week that he lied to Congress about the ongoing role President Trump played in discussions of a possible Trump Tower Moscow project. After initially telling lawmakers that those discussions, which included high-ranking Kremlin officials, concluded in early 2016, he later admitted to investigators that they continued until June 2016, just five months before Trump took office.

Attorneys representing Cohen admitted in the sentencing memo that their client consulted with White House staff and Trump’s attorneys before lying to Congress in September 2017. Cohen admitted in court last week that he lied to Congress “out of loyalty” to Trump.

The sentencing memo comes after Mueller asked a judge to sentence Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national-security adviser, to little or no prison time in light of his cooperation with the Russia investigation.

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