Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sentenced to three years prison
President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday (December 12) for financial crimes and orchestrating hush payments to women before the 2016 election, telling the judge his “blind loyalty” led him to cover up for Trump.
The sentencing by U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan capped a stunning about-face by a lawyer who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump but has now implicated the Republican president in criminal conduct. Cohen said in his guilty plea in August he was directed by Trump to make hush money payments to two women who said they had sexual affairs with Trump in the past.
Trump has denied the affairs and any involvement in the payments.
The three-year sentence was a modest reduction from the four to five years recommended under federal guidelines, but still underscored the seriousness of the charges of violating campaign finance laws and seeking to influence the outcome of an election.
Pauley sentenced Cohen to 36 months for the payments and to two months for Cohen‘s lies to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia. The two terms will run simultaneously. The judge set March 6 for Cohen‘s voluntary surrender.
As part of the sentence, the judge ordered Cohen to forfeit $500,000 and pay restitution of nearly $1.4 million.
“It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light,” Cohen told the judge during the sentencing hearing.
“I felt it was my duty to cover up his own dirty deeds,” Cohen said, referring to Trump.
The ongoing Mueller investigation represents a threat to Trump’s presidency. Mueller, who also is examining whether the president has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe, has secured guilty pleas from several former Trump aides including his former campaign chairman and national security adviser, as well as a series of Russia individuals and entities.