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Why Michael Cohen deserves prison time, Mueller, feds say



President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer was delivered some tough news by federal prosecutors on Friday.

Prosecutors issued a sentencing memorandum that recommended Michael Cohen receive “a substantial term of imprisonment” for crimes to which he’s pleaded guilty, despite his efforts to be cooperative. More specifically, they recommended a 3.5 year sentence and that Cohen pay a $100,000 fine.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty pleaded guilty in the Southern District of New York to eight federal crimes, including tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations.

Read more: Federal prosecutors recommend a 3.5 year sentence for former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

The prosecutors in their recommendation emphasized that Cohen “deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

This was a reference to Cohen’s hush payments to women who have alleged they had affairs with the president. Cohen said he carried out those payments at Trump’s direction to help his campaign.

“While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual 1,” the sentencing memo filed on Friday said.

“Individual 1” is Trump.

The prosecutors said “taken alone,” each of Cohen’s “serious crimes” merits “meaningful punishment.” And “taken together., they said, his offenses “reveal a man who knowingly sought to undermine core institutions of our democracy.” They contended Cohen’s nefarious activities were not a product of naivete or motivated by a political ideology, but were “calculated acts” he executed in order to “profit personally, build his own power, and enhance his level of influence.”

Read more: Trump says he wants Michael Cohen to receive a ‘full and complete sentence’ and goes on raging tweetstorm about Mueller

Last week, Cohen asked a federal judge to spare him prison time after pleading guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He cited his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating Russian election interference, as he requested leniency.

Prosecutors acknowledged Cohen’s efforts and said he should receive “credit,” but contended he’s “overstated” how helpful he’s been.

Cohen was “motivated by personal greed” and “repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends,” prosecutors said.

“Now he seeks extraordinary leniency — a sentence of no jail time — based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement. But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life,” the memo said.

In short, prosecutors suggested the “deceptive” nature of Cohen’s conduct outweighed his more recent efforts to cooperate with Mueller.

“Cohen’s years-long pattern of deception, and his attempts to minimize certain of that conduct even now, make it evident that a lengthy custodial sentence is necessary to specifically deter him from further fraudulent conduct, whether out of greed or for power, in the future,” the prosecutors said in Friday’s memo.

A separate memo filed by Mueller’s team on Friday used gentler language than the memo from federal prosecutors in New York, but still called for a sentence that reflects lying to federal prosecutors has “real consequences.” The memo also said, however, that “due consideration” should be given regarding Cohen’s efforts to cooperate.

Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12.

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