Michael Cohen sentenced to six months in prison for campaign finance violations

Preet Bharara says the former Trump lawyer’s seven-year sentence is ‘bolder than I anticipated’ – plus a further two years imposed in separate case

Donald Trump’s former fixer and close adviser Michael Cohen has been sentenced to six months in prison for campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

Cohen was sentenced in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday to between six and seven years in prison, after admitting he misled lawmakers about negotiations over a Trump Tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign. He will also serve two years of supervised release, which includes ankle monitors.

A federal jury in August found Cohen guilty of eight counts, including evading $1.4m in taxes and campaign finance violations. He was found not guilty of lying to Congress about negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow.

In June, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges, including tax fraud and campaign finance violations. Prosecutors said he and the Trump presidential campaign sought to hide payments Cohen made to two women in violation of campaign finance laws as part of the so-called “hush money” payments. Those payments were later made at Trump’s direction to protect the Trump presidential campaign, according to prosecutors.

Cohen is still fighting charges that could land him in prison for about 20 years on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign violations.

The US attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, said at Tuesday’s sentencing that Cohen’s offenses are “much broader than misconduct we know about”.

Speaking in court, Cohen told the judge, “I can’t ask for forgiveness. I’ve done wrong.”

As he was being led out of the courtroom, Cohen was asked if he had anything to say, but he replied, “I am not making any remarks at this time.”

Judge William Pauley said that “even when the circumstances differ”, the sentence that Cohen was sentenced to was stricter than he originally recommended. “You broke the law, and it was not only a moral failing, it was a criminal failure to obey,” Pauley said.

In a statement after the hearing, a spokesperson for Cohen released a statement saying: “Mr Cohen wishes to express his profound regret for the pain he has caused his family.

“Mr Cohen wishes to continue his efforts to right the wrongs committed by his family and to promote the values of his faith. Mr Cohen appreciates the time and consideration the Court has given him.

“Mr Cohen hopes that, in time, you will view his compliance with this order as a positive rather than a negative, as this case and others have demonstrated that Mr Cohen has broken no laws.”

The statement also said that Cohen had turned in “substantial documentation” in preparation for his sentencing, in conjunction with prosecutors.

US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Barbara McQuade, said in a statement that “with today’s sentence, Michael Cohen serves as a reminder of the need for strict adherence to the law, regardless of the political consequences”.

The defence lawyer Guy Petrillo said at Tuesday’s hearing that Cohen had accepted responsibility and done his best in his interactions with the justice system. He asked that Cohen be given time to write and answer questions from defence lawyers and others who have expressed support for him.

The judge ruled that Cohen may leave the courthouse to enter the courthouse to attend a “staged departure,” where inmates are taken by bus to and from a nearby facility.

“It is a serious court without serious consequences,” said US district judge Kimba Wood, noting that Cohen had previously reported to jail and may not have to report at another time or in a different location.

A former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, has said he is preparing a statement for Cohen to file in his sentencing papers. In a television interview on Monday, Giuliani said: “He’s going to argue for less than [Wood], I would think.”

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