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President Trump’s long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, went before a federal judge in New York on Wednesday after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and lying to Congress and received a three-year sentence in federal prison.
The long-time Trump lawyer’s tax fraud conviction stems from Cohen’s avoidance of paying federal income taxes in excess of $4 million in taxi medallion ownership, real estate sales in Florida and consulting work he performed for clients.
His campaign finance law violations came from the payments that he made to Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels at the direction of Trump.
Cohen was also convicted of lying to Congress about Trump’s proposal to build a skyscraper in Moscow.
Cohen said in court that he took the “path of darkness instead of light” because of his blind loyalty to Trump. He also told the judge in the Manhatten courthouse on Wednesday that he has taken ” full responsibility for each act,” adding that the “sooner I am sentenced, the sooner I can return to my family.”
He was ordered to report for incarceration by March 6th. He was also fined $50,000, ordered to forfeit $500,000 and to pay $1.4 million in restitution.
Cohen’s conviction and sentencing was the result of two investigations carried out by the Department of Justice, one in the southern district of New York and the other in Washington DC. Cohen cooperated with federal prosecutors in New York and Special Counsel Mueller in Washington.
Cohen is only the most recent of Trump associates to plead guilty to federal charges since Trump has taken up residence in the White House. Trump has stated publically that Cohen’s admission of paying the two women at his direction was nothing more than lies despite recordings that show otherwise.
Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, who will cease to be Cohen’s lawyer after his sentencing said that Cohen “owned up to his mistakes and fully cooperated.” He released a statement, saying,
“Michael Cohen, former attorney to Donald Trump, continues to tell the truth about Donald Trump’s misconduct over the years.
At the appropriate time, after Mr. Mueller completes his investigation and issues his final report, I look forward to assisting Michael to state publicly all he knows about Mr. Trump — and that includes any appropriate Congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies. Mr. Trump’s repeated lies cannot contradict stubborn facts.
Michael has owned up to his mistakes and fully cooperated with Special Counsel Mueller in his investigation over possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia meddling in the 2016 election. While Mr. Mueller gave Michael significant credit for cooperation on the “core” issues, it is unfortunate that SDNY prosecutors did not do the same. To me, their judgment showed a lack of appropriate proportionality.
Since the sentencing process has been completed, I no longer need to serve as an attorney for Michael, but will continue to serve as a communications advisor.”
In court, Cohen also said, “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.”