It turns out that being a rat may not pay off after all.
Just a few days after Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended as little as no prison time for Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, who pled guilty to lying to the FBI and had agreed to cooperate with the FBI, moments ago US prosecutors issued a statement in which they announced that Michael Cohen, who infamously flipped on the president (for whom Cohen once said he “would take a bullet”) deserves “substantial prison time”, despite his cooperation.
While Flynn pled guilty to just one count, whereas Cohen had pled guilty to 8 federal crimes, what is remarkable is that despite his allegedly extensive cooperation culminating in over 70 hours of testimony, Mueller said that “he does not ask for special leniency for Cohen”, calling his lies to Congress and the people “serious”, and instead “respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment” one that reflects “a modest downward variance from the applicable Guidelines range” which is in the range of 51-63 months.
Here are the key sections from the Preliminary Statement:
Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years. He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends. 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 (and was evidently hidden from the friends and family members who wrote on his behalf).
While Mueller concedes that Cohen did provide information to law enforcement, “including information that assisted the Special Counsel’s Office in ongoing matters” -while Mueller agrees is a factor to be considered by the Court, he notes that “Cohen’s description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others.”
And while Mueller agrees that Cohen “should receive credit for his assistance in the SCO investigation,” what is even more surprising is that according to Mueller, the credit given to Cohen should not approximate the credit a traditional cooperating witness would receive, “given Cohen’s affirmative decision not to become one.”
“For these reasons, the Office respectfully requests that this Court impose a substantial term of imprisonment, one that reflects a modest downward variance from the applicable Guidelines range” which was defined as a range of 51 to 63 months’ imprisonment.
Still, Mueller did say Cohen has taken “significant steps to mitigate his criminal conduct”, although whether Cohen will be happy with the consequences – namely one very pissed off president – remains to be seen.
What is also notable from the late day filing, is that Federal Prosecutors for the first time also said that Cohen committed campaign finance crimes “in coordination with and at the direction of [Donald Trump, aka Individual-1]”, to wit:
During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories – each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual-1 – so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election
Read the full pdf filing here.
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