President Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, who most recently pleaded guilty to lying about his involvement in the deal to bring a Trump Tower to Russia, was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday. During the federal court hearing in New York, Cohen apologized for his role in what he called the president’s “dirty deeds.”
The sentencing is harsher than Cohen, who implicated the President in directing hush payments to two women that claimed to have had affairs with him, had hoped for. In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions, bank fraud and making false statements to Congress. But he sought less jail time by virtue of his assistance in other investigations. Last week, however, prosecutors wrote that Cohen had not been fully cooperative.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan launched an investigation into Cohen earlier this year, and raided his offices in April after a tip from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, who has been investigating the Trump campaign, focusing on potential collusion with Russian nationals during the 2016 presidential election.
Since then, President Trump has labelled Cohen a “weak person” and denied knowledge of the payments to women, before conceding that he did know about them. He last week dismissed them as “a simple private transaction.” Prosecutors have said Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump, who is referred to as “Individual – 1” in court filings.
In the Special Counsel’s investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his communications with a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he emailed for help launching a Trump Tower project in Moscow. The project was later abandoned. [NYT] — David Jeans and Will Parker