Former Trump Lawyer Gets 3 Years in Prison
Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, has been sentenced to three years in prision for an array of crimes, including his role in arranging $280,000 in hush money payments to two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump, and for lying to Congress about Trump's efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow.
The 52-year-old Cohen, who worked for Trump for 12 years, once bragged that he would "take a bullet" to support Trump. More recently, he has turned on the U.S. leader.
Prosecutors say Cohen, at Trump's direction, facilitated the payments — in violation of campaign finance laws — to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal shortly before the 2016 election to buy their silence about alleged liaisons with the real estate mogul a decade before he ran for the presidency.
Cohen's lawyers had asked for no prison time for him, saying his actions were a product of "fierce loyalty" to Trump.
They said he was in "close and regular contact with White House-based staff and legal counsel" when he prepared for congressional testimony last year falsely claiming that Trump had ended his efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow by early 2016, before Republican presidential nominating contests started.
Cohen more recently said that Trump had pursued the Moscow project through June 2016, the entirety of the Republican primary election calendar two years ago. Cohen said he briefed the then-candidate about his efforts to win approval for the Moscow project, although eventually it was abandoned.
Federal prosecutors in New York called for a "substantial term of imprisonment," because they say Cohen never fully cooperated with investigators about his crimes, which also include tax fraud and making false statements to a bank.
Trump and his lawyers have sought to downplay the payments to Daniels and McDougal, saying that at most, it was a civil, not criminal, violation of U.S. election laws.
On Twitter, Trump contended that Cohen was "just trying to get his sentence reduced" by making claims against him.
The U.S. leader, angered by Cohen's allegations, has said that the lawyer deserves a "full and complete" sentence.