Cohen Gets Three Years, Still Cooperating

By William Vogeler, Esq. on December 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It was only a matter of time -- three years in this case.

Michael Cohen should have seen it coming. He had broken tax laws, lied to a bank, and made unreported campaign contributions.

But as he was sentenced in federal court, Cohen said he was blind to the truth. The truth, he said, was that he was doing Donald Trump's dirty work.

"Blind Loyalty"

"My weakness could be characterized as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump," Cohen told a packed courtroom. Judge William H. Pauley III gave him three years and ordered him to pay nearly $2 million in penalties.

Trump's former "fixer" apologized for his conduct, but said he felt it was his job to cover up the "dirty deeds" of his former boss. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Cohen is the first Trump insider to be sentenced with potential legal implications for the president since special prosecutor Robert Mueller began investigating alleged crimes in the 2016 election. Cohen admitted he paid hush money to two women about affairs they had with then-candidate Trump.

"As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better," 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."

More to Come

It's not over for Cohen, who was charged by federal prosecutors in New York. He still faces potential problems from Mueller, but is cooperating with the investigation.

Jeannie Rhee, part of the Mueller team, told the judge Cohen has been helpful. "Cohen has sought to tell us the truth, and that is of utmost value to us," she said.

In a historical context, Cohen's case has been more about the president than the lawyer. Before sentencing, Trump downplayed Cohen's importance in the Mueller probe.

"Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced," Trump wrote on Twitter. "WITCH HUNT!"

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