Trump ex-attorney Michael Cohen sentenced: 3 years prison, $500,000 forfeiture, $1.4 million restitution, $50,000 fine

Donald Trump's longtime “fixer” and personal attorney has been sentenced to to 36 months (3 years) in federal prison, plus an additional 3 years of supervised release, in a case in the Southern District of New York.

Judge William H. Pauley of SDNY also sentenced Cohen to 2 months for lying to Congress, to be served concurrently to his primary 36-month sentence.

He also issued an order for $500,000 in forfeiture, payment of $1.39 million in back taxes, and a $50,000 fine.

Judge Pauley also ordered an additional $50,000 fine, for lying to Congress.

There are additional terms of imprisonment, but all will be served by Cohen concurrently.

Cohen will be able to voluntarily surrender, he was not taken into custody as the hearing ended.

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Federal prosecutors asked for a "substantial" prison sentence of about 3 and a half years. Cohen asked for time served. He could face up to five years, based on sentencing guidelines for his crimes.

“We respectfully submit that the case calls for a full consideration of mercy,” Michael Cohen's defense attorney Guy Petrillo said during the hearing.

Petrillo argued that Cohen should receive a lenient sentence in part because Cohen “came forward to offer evidence” against Trump.

"I don't really understand the strident tone of the memo,” Petrillo said, referring to the Southern District of New York's filing.

Implying that his connection to Trump was the reason for the strident tone, Petrillo added, “Mr. Cohen had the misfortune to be counsel to the president.”

This, of course, implies that Cohen's position at Trump's side was not something over which Cohen had any choice.

Petrillo then went on to tell the court that Cohen would be willing to cooperate with ongoing investigations, but that “he is wary of a long term cooperation agreement for personal reasons, and because he wants both to remove himself and his family from the glare of the cameras.”

So, Cohen is unwilling to cooperate.

Petrillo then told the court Cohen could not have anticipated the “full measure of attack that would made against him” by President Trump and supporters, “and those attacks include threats against his family.”

Cohen's attorney ended his remarks asking the judge for leniency: “He's a very good man.”

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Speaking for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Office, prosecutor Jeannie S. Rhee told the court Cohen provided "credible" and "valuable information" regarding "any links between a campaign and a foreign government."

"Mr. Cohen has sought to tell us the truth," Rhee said.

Rhee also said that Cohen provided information to Mueller's team related to the core Russia-related issues under investigation, but due to the nature of those investigations, declined to further detail.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos of the Southern District of New York next argued that Cohen's actions harmed the interests of "free and transparent elections, and in committing these crimes, Cohen has eroded faith in the electoral process."

“Deception, brazenness, and greed,” is how SDNY's Roos then described Cohen's conduct, reminding the court of his interference with the election, and long history of willful tax cheating, among other shady business.

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Michael Cohen then stood to speak at the podium, from a prepared statement.

From his speech:

"Today is the day that I am getting my freedom back."

"I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired."

“I stand before your honor humbly and painfully aware that we are here for one reason.”

“I take full responsibility for each act that I pleaded guilty to,” including those implicating the “President of the United States of America.”

"Today is one of the most meaning days of my life."

My "weakness was a blind loyalty to Donald Trump."

"I have chosen this unorthodox path because the sooner that I am sentenced," the sooner I can return to my family.

"I do not need a cooperation agreement in place to do the right thing."

He then mentions his family members, by name, and says he brought pain and shame on his family. Mentions his mom, dad, and children, and says to them "I'm sorry." Long pause.

"The president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world," Cohen said mockingly, "calling me a rat."

He said Trump tried to influence the proceedings that "implicate" him.

He apologized again to his family before wrapping up. His voice cracked with apparent emotion, as he apologizes to "the people of the United States" for lying to us.

"You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust."

Cohen then sat down.

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Then, the sentence was imposed.

Judge Pauley spoke about the "smorgasboard" of crimes involving "deception" and motivated by "personal greed and ambition.”

Quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, Judge Pauley said of the tax-evasion charges against Cohen, "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

He said Cohen admitted that he made the illicit hush-money payments "at the coordination with and the direction of Individual-1."

"Each of these crimes standing alone warrant considerable punishment."

Pauley then reviewed Cohen's life, up to the time he began working for the Trump Organization.

"He thrived on his access to wealthy and powerful people, and he became one himself," he says.

Pauley says "the need for general deterrents is amplified in this case."

Pauley, who is from Long Island, adds that Cohen had a "comfortable childhood and had all the comforts of growing up in an upper middle class suburb on Long Island."

Somewhere along the way, however, Pauley says Cohen "lost his moral compass" and chose to "monetize" his closeness to the rich and powerful, via Trump.

Pauley then references the statement from Mueller's team at the Special Counsel's Office that Cohen cooperated on "core topics under investigation," and that the information that he has provided was "relevant and useful."

"Our system of justice would be less robust without the use of cooperating agreements with law enforcement."

Regarding the tax evasion, campaign finance, and false statement charges: "As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better," Pauley said.

Cohen's cooperation "does not wipe the slate clean."

"This court ... believes a significant term of imprisonment" is justified.


Below, live tweets from the Manhattan federal court where sentencing took place. This blog post was compiled in part from live-tweeted reporting by: Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News, Erica Orden of CNN, Nicole Fuller of Newsday, and reporter Benjamin Adams, who were among the reporters in the courtroom.


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