New York: US President Donald Trump’s former long-term personal attorney, Michael Cohen was sentenced here on Wednesday to 36 months in prison for tax fraud and campaign finance violations arising from payoffs he made during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed to have had affairs with the then-candidate.
Prosecutors had asked for a prison term of between 51 and 63 months due to the “seriousness” of Cohen’s violations of election laws, Efe reported.
The lawyer received a two-month sentence, to be served concurrently, after pleading guilty to a charge brought by Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged Russian machinations to help Trump win the 2016 election and possible coordination between the campaign and Moscow.
Cohen admitted to Mueller that he lied when he told a congressional committee that an initiative to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, months before the real estate mogul secured the Republican presidential nomination.
The attorney admitted that discussions about the project continued until 2016 and that Trump and members of his family were aware of those contacts.
Cohen came to court on Wednesday accompanied by his wife and two children.
Judge William H. Pauley III, who praised Cohen’s cooperation with authorities, also sentenced Trump’s close collaborator, the first to be sent to prison, to pay a fine of $50,000.
Cohen — who during his final 10-minute statement to the court on Wednesday said that his “weakness” had been to provide “blind loyalty to the man that caused me to choose the path of darkness,” that is to Trump — will have until March 6 to present himself to US authorities and begin serving his prison sentence.
In his statement, Cohen also took “full responsibility” for his crimes, “for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America.”
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Pauley also emphasized that, as an attorney, Cohen should have been aware that what he was doing constituted crimes and said that he had prospered in his career by getting access to “rich and powerful” people to the point where he became one of them.