President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen lashed out at his former boss’s “dirty deeds” today as he was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes including tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress and the IRS.
In one of several swipes at Trump, Cohen said that he takes “full responsibility” for his crimes, including “those involving the president of the United States of America.” Last week, prosecutors from New York’s Southern District implicated the president in campaign finance crimes, saying Trump had instructed Cohen to make illegal payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
“Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,” Cohen said, according to reporters in the court, adding he has “been living in a personal and mental incarceration” ever since accepting a job offer from Trump.
The jailing of Trump’s former right-hand man heaps pressure on an already embattled White House, following the conviction of former campaign director Paul Manafort and a guilty plea from former national security advisor Mike Flynn.
Even more worryingly for the White House, Cohen gave special counsel Robert Mueller’s team ”credible” and “valuable information” regarding “any links between a campaign and a foreign government,” Jeannie Rhee, a prosecutor from Mueller’s office, reportedly told the New York court. The Southern District case was spun off from Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. A brief memo released by Mueller’s office last week revealed that Trump and Cohen tried to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2015.
Judge William Pauley was dismissive of pleas for lenience from Cohen’s lawyer, saying Cohen had committed a “smorgasbord” of crimes motivated by “personal greed and ambition.” Cohen used “sophisticated means” to hide his crimes, such as setting up shell companies to hide the hush payments, Pauley said.