Lawyers say ex-Trump lawyer Cohen deserves no prison

Erika Holt
December 3, 2018

Cohen's attorneys, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, argued that instead angling for a presidential pardon or clemency regularly mentioned in news accounts, the former Trump lawyer took responsibility for his actions.

"In the context of this raw, full-bore attack by the most powerful person in the United States, Michael, formerly a confidante and adviser to Mr. Trump, resolved to cooperate, and voluntarily took the first steps toward doing so even before he was charged", the lawyers wrote.

He faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison on the false statement charge and a potential $200,000 fine, but sentencing guidelines in the plea deal ranged from zero to six months.

In a sentencing memo filed by Cohen's legal team, the disgraced attorney promised to continue cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose probe Trump has dismissed as a "witch hunt".

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress during Mueller's investigation.

But Cohen declined to enter into a traditional agreement because he wanted to avoid a delay in his sentencing "as investigations and trials unfold and conclude", his lawyers wrote Friday. In that plea, Cohen implicated Trump in hush-money payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to hide affairs they said they had with Trump. He also met with the NY attorney general's office, which is investigating the Donald Trump Foundation.

The details were part of a sentencing memo filed with the federal court in Manhattan, where Cohen will be sentenced on December 12 in two separate criminal cases.

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Threaded throughout the document were testimonials from people closest to Cohen - drawn from some three dozen letters that were also submitted - depicting an image of generosity that undercuts the public perceptions of him since his guilty plea.

In Cohen's cooperation agreement with the special counsel's office, it notes that Cohen will not be prosecuted for "obstructing" or conspiring to obstruct or commit perjury "before congressional or grand jury investigations". "I pray and beg, beg and pray that you won't take my oxygen away from me".

Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed in an interview with NBC News that communication between former Trump fixer Michael Cohen and Russian officials on Trump Tower Moscow did indeed happen, but that after a few attempts at conversation it all came to nothing.

The report states "his false statement to Congress - which Cohen pleaded guilty to on Thursday - was based on Trump and his team's efforts to "portray contact with Russian representatives" by Trump, his campaign or his company 'as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016, '" Politico reports.

Cohen had said in his statement to Congress that he had limited contact with Trump concerning the project, when in fact it had been more extensive.

They alleged Cohen was assured by Trump he would be reimbursed for paying the lawyer of one of the women accusing him of an affair, and that Cohen "kept his client contemporaneously informed and acted on his client's instructions".

"Michael regrets that his vigor in promoting [Trump]'s interests in the heat of political battle led him to abandon good judgment and cross legal lines", the lawyers wrote.

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