Former Trump campaign lawyer Michael Cohen, who once vowed to “take a bullet” for his old boss but abruptly changed his tune when the feds started chasing him, has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for financial crimes and another two months for lying to Congress. Calling the crimes “a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct,” Judge William H. Pauley III delivered the sentence at the Southern District of New York on Wednesday.
“I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: the personal ones to me, and those involving the President of the United States of America,” Cohen said in the courtroom. “Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak, and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”
Cohen pled guilty to charges in two separate cases, one set brought forward by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York over over illicit “hush money” payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in violation of campaign finance laws. In a filing released on Friday, prosecutors wrote that Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction” of an unidentified person, Individual-1 (Donald Trump).
Cohen also pled guilty to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller for lying to Congress for “making false statements” to Congress over the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He is one of many former Trump associates indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, along with former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates. (The list is too long to write them all out, but you can read about them here).
At the hearing, Pauley said that Cohen’s cooperation with authorities “does not wipe the slate clean.”
Cohen will begin his sentence on March 6.