Feds Ask for 'Substantial' Prison Time for Michael Cohen

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 10, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The whole idea of having a "fixer" is that the person keeps you out of trouble and doesn't get caught doing it. It's safe to say that former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen was not a great fixer.

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud in August, admitting he worked "in coordination with and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" to influence the 2016 presidential election. That influence involved making payments to alleged Trump mistresses to keep them quiet before the election. Cohen pleaded guilty again in November, conceding he lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding a proposed Trump Tower construction in Moscow.

On Friday, federal prosecutors submitted a sentencing memorandum recommending a substantial prison term for the president's former fixer.

Distinct Federal Crimes

While acknowledging Cohen "did provide information to law enforcement," and assist both state and federal investigations, attorneys for the Southern District of New York pulled no punches in the sentencing memo:

Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends. Now he seeks extraordinary leniency -- a sentence of no jail time -- based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement. But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf).

"For the reasons set forth above," the memo concludes, "the Office respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment, one that reflects a modest variance from the applicable Guidelines range." The memo also asks the Court to require Cohen pay $500,000 in forfeiture along with other fines.

Fixer to Family

The New York Times speculates that, now that federal prosecutors are done with Trump's fixer, they'll move on to Trump's family. What is clear is that the investigation into Trump's campaign and its apparent conflict with federal laws continues.

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