Michael Cohen Sentenced To 36 Months In Prison

Update 5: Cohen has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for his crimes, far below the guideline of 51 - 63 months laid out by New York prosecutors. The Judge noted that the guidelines aren't binding and had the ability to issue a lesser sentence. 

Cohen has also been hit with forfeiture of $500,000, restitution of $1.4 million and a fine of $50,000. He will be allowed to voluntarily surrender on March 6

Update 4: Judge Pauley has responded following Cohen's statement, saying "Mr. Cohen’s crimes implicate a far more insidious crime to our democratic institutions especially in view of his subsequent plea to making false statements to Congress," adding that Cohen's crimes warrant "specific deterrence."

Update 3: Cohen has spoken, telling the Judge: "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."

Judge William Pauley, meanwhile, noted that Cohen pleaded guilty to a "veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct," which was motivated by "personal greed and ambition." 

Update 2: Petrillo, Cohen's attorney, continues to reference Cohen's desire to cooperate further with prosecutors to answer future questions - however Manhattan prosecutors don't appear to care, according to Bloomberg banking reporter Shahien Nasiripour. In a memo last week to the court, they said that Cohen's promise to cooperate further is worthless - especially since there would be nothing requiring him to do so once he's already been sentenced.

Meanwhile, Jeannie Rhee - an attorney with Robert Mueller's office, told the court that while Cohen lied to the special counsel's team during his first interview in July, he has been truthful since. 

Manhattan Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos, however, says that any reduction in sentence "should be modest." 

Roos added that Cohen "has eroded faith in the electoral process and compromised the rule of law," and that he engaged in "a pattern of deception of brazenness and greed."

Update: Cohen's attorney, Guy Petrillo, says Cohen thought that President Trump would shut down the Mueller probe, and has argued that his client's cooperation warrants a lenient sentence.

"Mr. Cohen’s cooperation promotes respect for law and the courage of the individual to stand up to power and influence," said Petrillo. 

"His decision was an importantly different decision from the usual decision to cooperate," added Petrillo. "He came forward to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country. He did so not knowing what the result would be, not knowing how the politics would play out and not even knowing that the special counsel’s office would survive."

"The special counsel's investigation is of the utmost national significance... Not seen since 40 plus years ago in the days of Watergate." -Guy Petrillo

Petrillo has asked the judge to "consider Cohen's "life of good works" in his decision, adding that Cohen's cooperation stands in "profound contrast" to others who havern't cooperated and who "have continued to double-deal while pretending to cooperate."

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Michael Cohen, former longtime personal lawyer for President Trump, has shown up to a New York courthouse where he will be sentenced on Wednesday for a laundry list of crimes - some of which implicate Trump in possible wrongdoing, but most of which have nothing to do with the president. 

Cohen, who went from claiming he would "take a bullet" for President Trump to stabbing his former boss in the back, faces sentencing on nine federal charges, including campaign finance violations based on a hush-money scheme to pay off two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump, as well as making false statements to special counsel Robert Mueller. 

Prosecutors alleged that Cohen paid off two women at the “direction” of “Individual-1,” who is widely assumed to be Trump.

Prosecutors said the payments amounted to illegal campaign contributions because they were made with the intent to prevent damaging information from surfacing during the 2016 presidential election, which Cohen pleaded guilty to in August. 

Legal experts view the filing as an ominous sign for Trump, suggesting prosecutors have evidence beyond Cohen’s public admissions implicating the president in the payoff scheme. While the Justice Department has said previously that a sitting president cannot be indicted, that would not stop prosecutors from bringing charges against Trump once he leaves office. -The Hill

New York prosecutors have recommended that Judge William Pauley impose "a substantial term of imprisonment" on Cohen - which may be around five years. Cohen's attorneys, meanwhile, have asked Pauley for a sentence which avoids prison time - citing his cooperation with the Mueller probe and other investigations which began prior to his guilty plea last summer. Mueller said that Cohen had "gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counsel's investigation," having met with Mueller's team seven times where he reportedly provided information useful to the Russia investigation. The special counsel's office has recommended that any sentence Cohen receives for lying to Congress should run concurrently with the charges brought by the Manhattan federal prosecutors. 

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in August to tax evasion, lying to banks and violating campaign finance laws - charges filed by the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. 

The campaign finance charges relate to his facilitation of two hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Both women say they had sex with Trump in the prior decade. The White House has denied Trump had sex with either woman.

Prosecutors say the payments were made "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump, who is called "Individual-1" in a sentencing recommendation filed last week.

Cohen's crimes were intended "to influence the election from the shadows," prosecutors wrote. -CNBC

In November Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Trump Organization's ill-fated plans to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow - a project floated by Cohen and longtime FBI asset who had been in Trump's orbit for years, Felix Sater. Cohen claims he understated Trump's knowledge of the project. He also lied to Congress when he said that the Moscow project talks ended in early 2016, when in fact he and the Trump Organization had continued to pursue it as late as June 2016. 

On Wednesday, Stormy Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti - who is in attendance at Cohen's sentencing, said in a Wednesday tweet that Cohen "thought we would just go away and he/Trump would get away with it. He thought he was smart and tough. He was neither. Today will prove that in spades."

We wonder how much Avenatti will pick up of the $293,000 in legal fees Stormy Daniels was ordered to pay Trump?