What to Know
- President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen on Wednesday asked a judge to consider either reducing his three-year prison term or release him on a new sentence of home confinement.
- Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple financial crimes, and to violating campaign finance laws in connection with hush money payments to two women who claim to have had sexual affairs with Trump.
- Adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal were paid to keep quiet about their allegations in the months before the 2016 presidential election.
President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen on Wednesday asked a judge to consider either reducing his three-year prison term, or release him on a new sentence of home confinement and community service.
Cohen’s filing in federal court in Manhattan also asked Judge William Pauley to order a hearing “to explore, evaluate, and quantify” the cooperation that Cohen has given federal prosecutors and investigators since pleading guilty in 2018 to multiple crimes.
Cohen, 53, was prosecuted in separate cases by special counsel Robert Mueller and by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of York.
Mueller’s office has lauded Cohen for his “substantial cooperation,” in particular his giving “valuable information” about links between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians.”
But federal prosecutors in New York have been less complimentary, saying Cohen “didn’t come anywhere close to assisting this office in an investigation.”
In the Mueller case, the Manhattan resident admitted to lying to Congress about an aborted plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
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In the Southern District case, he pleaded guilty to various financial and tax crimes and to violating campaign finance laws in connection with hush money payments to two women, porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claim to have had sexual affairs with Trump.
Cohen said he paid Daniels $130,000 and facilitated a $150,000 payment to McDougal from the publisher of The National Enquirer shortly before the 2016 presidential election to avoid them going public with their claims and damaging Trump’s electoral chances.
The president has denied having sex with either woman.
A lawyer for Cohen, Lanny Davis, noted that Cohen has given “substantial assistance” to Congressional committees, Mueller’s investigation, and, while in prison, to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office is conducting an ongoing probe of Trump’s business.
Davis said that Cohen has been a “model inmate” since he began serving his sentence in early May in the federal facility in Otisville, New York.
“We question whether Attorney General [William] Barr, who thinks his role is to act as President Trump’s personal attorney rather than the attorney for the American people, has interfered and influenced the decision not to credit Mr. Cohen for all his cooperation in bringing the facts out publicly about Mr. Trump’s wrongdoing,” Davis told CNBC.
“We also respectfully ask the court to consider the fairness of what appears to be unjust targeting and selective prosecution of only Mr. Cohen, who took responsibility while all others in the Trump Organization, including Mr. Trump himself, seem to have escaped accountability.”
Davis and Cohen’s other lawyers claim that the Barr-led Justice Department did not act in “good faith” in failing to meet with Cohen after he surrendered to serve his sentence, or support his motion. The lawyers are seeking a hearing to explore the “motivations” of the Justice Department, Davis said.
“Cohen essentially contends the Government’s position represents a consistent pattern of blind Barr loyalty to President Trump, even now as Articles of Impeachment are being drawn in the House of Representatives,” Davis said.
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
This story first appeared on CNBC.com. More from CNBC:
- ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ photo, with the real Jordan Belfort, sells for $200,000
- Self-professed ex-Trump mistress Karen McDougal sues Fox News for defamation after ‘extortion’ claim
- Trump is in the endgame now, but he is far from inevitable
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Credit: Noreen O'Donnell, Nelson Hsu, Nina Lin/NBC