Sat | Aug 17, 2019

Trump's former lawyer gets three-year prison sentence

Published:Thursday | December 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Michael Cohen, president Donald Trump's former lawyer, leaves federal court after his sentencing in New York, yesterday.


Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's once-devoted lawyer and all-around fixer, was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison for allowing what he said was his "blind loyalty" to Trump to lead him astray. "I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds," he said.

Standing alone at the defence table, Cohen, 52, shook his head slightly and closed his eyes briefly as the judge pronounced the sentence for crimes that included lying about Trump's business dealings in Russia and funnelling hush money to two women - payments that Cohen said were made at the president's direction.

US 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."


Given slight break


The sentence was in line with what federal prosecutors asked for. Sentencing guidelines called for around four to five years behind bars, and prosecutors asked in court papers that Cohen be given only a slight break. He was ordered to surrender March 6.

"It was my blind loyalty to this man that led me to take a path of darkness instead of light," said Cohen, a man who once boasted he would "take a bullet" for Trump. "I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds."

Cohen's lawyers had argued for leniency, saying he decided to cooperate with investigators rather than hold out for a possible pardon.

"He came forward to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country," defence attorney Guy Petrillo told the judge.