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Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison stemming from plea deal

By Allen Cone and Ed Adamczyk
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Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison stemming from plea deal
President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen exits Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on Wednesday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's onetime personal attorney, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison after pleading guilty to nine federal charges.

Judge William Pauley III handed down the sentence in New York City federal court, including ordering him to pay $1.4 million in restitution, $500,000 forfeiture and a $50,000 fine.

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Pauley listed the crimes to which Cohen pleaded guilty, saying "each of these crimes is a serious offense against the United States. Mr. Cohen pled guilty to a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct."

Cohen pleaded guilty to the charges in August, which included five for tax evasion and one count each of excessive campaign contribution, unlawful corporate contribution and false statements to a bank. He was released on $500,000 bond.

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He must report to prison on March 6. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide on the location though the judge agreed to recommend Otisville Federal Correctional Facility in Upstate New York.

"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 court Wednesday. "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."

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The campaign finance charges stem from his involvement in making payments in 2016 to two women who said they had affairs with Trump. Prosecutors said the payments were intended "to influence the election from the shadows."

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In court Wednesday, defense attorney Guy Petrillo said Cohen was unable to "anticipate the full measure of attack that would be made against him" by Trump and "partisans and citizens who happen to be aligned with the president. Those attacks include threats against his family."

Petrillo added that Cohen's willingness to cooperate with prosecutors in the Southern District of New York as part of his plea stands "in profound contrast to the decision of some others not to cooperate and allegedly to double deal while pretending to cooperate."

Defense attorneys had asked that Cohen be spared prison time.

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Prosecutors said in a pre-sentencing memo his efforts "fell short of cooperation." As such, they asked that Cohen serve a "substantial prison term," citing guidelines of 51 months to 63 months.

Jeannie Rhee, an attorney in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, said that Cohen "has told the truth."

Cohen pleaded guilty last month to charges of lying to Congress by Mueller's office, which is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and potential collusion with members of the Trump campaign.

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A sentencing document said Cohen has provided "relevant and useful information" about contacts with people connected to the White House. Mueller's team also said Cohen gave "information about attempts by other Russian nationals" to contact the Trump campaign dating back to November 2015.

Mueller's office didn't suggest a sentence for Cohen but said any punishment should be served concurrent to the sentence handed down in the tax evasion and campaign finance case.

Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow by the Trump Organization. He said the plans stopped in January 2016, but Mueller's office said Cohen's discussions about the proposal continued as late as June 2016, five months before the election.

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