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Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen gets 3 years in prison

Published:Wednesday | December 12, 2018 | 4:31 PM
Michael Cohen (second from right) President Donald Trump's former lawyer, accompanied by his children (from left) Samantha and Jake, and his wife Laura Shusterman (right) arrive at federal court for his sentencing for dodging taxes, lying to Congress and violating campaign finance laws in New York on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s once-devoted lawyer and all-around fixer, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison after telling a federal judge that his “blind loyalty” to his boss led him to cover up Trump’s “dirty deeds.”

Standing alone at the defense table, Cohen, 52, shook his head slightly and closed his eyes as the judge pronounced the sentence for crimes that included lying about his boss’ business dealings in Russia and funnelling hush money to two women who said they had sex with Trump — payments that both Cohen and federal prosecutors said were made at Trump’s direction to fend off damage to his White House bid.

Cohen is the first and, so far, only member of Trump’s circle during two years of investigations to go into open court and implicate the president in a crime, though whether a president can be prosecuted under the Constitution is an open question.

Separately, prosecutors announced Wednesday that they filled in another piece of the puzzle in the hush-money case: The parent company of the National Enquirer acknowledged making one of those payments “in concert” with the Trump campaign to protect him from a story that could have hurt his candidacy.

During an appearance at the White House shortly after the sentencing, Trump ignored reporters’ questions about Cohen.

At the sentencing, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III said Cohen deserved modest credit for his decision over the summer to admit guilt and cooperate in the federal investigation of efforts by Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election, but his assistance “does not wipe the slate clean.”

“Somewhere along the way Mr Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass,” the judge said. “As a lawyer, Mr Cohen should have known better.”

The judge also ordered Cohen to pay $1.39 million in restitution to the IRS, forfeit $500,000 and pay $100,000 in fines.

He was ordered to report to prison March 6, 2019, and left court without comment.

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