'Dirty Deeds:' Ex-Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Gets 3 Years In Prison

December 12, 2018 - 6:32 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — President Donald Trump’s former right-hand man and personal fixer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for crimes including hush-money payments that prosecutors say Trump ordered.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III said Wednesday that Michael Cohen deserved a harsh punishment for crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress and arranging illicit payments to silence women who posed a risk to Trump's presidential campaign. 

The judge rejected arguments by Cohen's lawyers that he should be spared jail time because he cooperated in multiple federal investigations involving Trump. 

Pauley said  Cohen's cooperation with prosecutors "does not wipe the slate clean'' of his crimes. He added that Cohen "appears to have lost his moral compass'' and that the lawyer "should have known better'' than to dodge taxes, lie to Congress and violate campaign finance laws.

Cohen said his "blind loyalty'' to Trump made him feel a duty to "cover up'' the president's "dirty deeds.'' Cohen said at his sentencing that he takes "full responsibility'' for the crimes he admitted committing. But he went on to say his allegiance to Trump led him "to take a path of darkness instead of light.'' 

Cohen was accompanied Wednesday by his wife and two college-aged children as he arrived at the courthouse in Manhattan. He didn't stop to speak with a crowd of reporters.

In August, Trump’s former attorney pleaded guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion and a campaign finance charge stemming from secretive payments made to Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal. Late last month, he also admitted lying to Congress about his work on a proposal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Daniel's attorney, Michael Avenatti, said after the sentencing, "Michael Cohen is neither a hero nor a patriot, he lied for months on end about his criminal conduct and the role of the president of the United States... Michael Cohen was sentenced today, Donald Trump is next."

Avenatti said Cohen's action sought to “degrade the office of the presidency of the United States by seeking to buy, effectively, an election.” He also noted that Cohen will begin his sentence exactly one year after Daniels filed her case case against him.  

Cohen helped prosecutors but he did not cooperate fully, and that's where the government is asking for a “substantial prison term.”

“Cohen really tried to have it both ways here, he decided he wanted to cooperate with the government, but he wanted to do it only on his terms,” said former federal prosecutor Robert Mintz. “By that, I mean he wanted to provide only the information that he wanted to give to the government, as opposed to providing full and complete cooperation.”

It remains unclear what Cohen’s sentencing will mean for President Trump.

Trump has said he wants a "full and complete" sentence for his former lawyer, whom he labeled a liar. 

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report)