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Sunday 20 October 2019

Trump’s former lawyer jailed for three years

Michael Cohen’s crimes included tax evasion and lying to Congress.

Michael Cohen has been jailed for three years (Julio Cortez/AP)
Michael Cohen has been jailed for three years (Julio Cortez/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer has been sentenced to three years in prison.

A New York judge said that Michael Cohen deserved a harsh punishment for crimes including tax evasion, lying to Congress and arranging illegal payments to silence women who posed a risk to Mr Trump’s presidential campaign.

District Judge William H Pauley III rejected arguments by Cohen’s lawyers that he should be spared jail because he cooperated in multiple federal investigations involving Mr Trump.

Cohen said his “blind loyalty” to Mr Trump made him feel a duty to “cover up” the president’s “dirty deeds”.

Cohen’s crimes included evading 1.4 million dollars (£1.1m) in taxes and misleading Congress about his talks with Russians about a Trump skyscraper project in Moscow.

Mr Trump had called for a tough sentence for Cohen, whom he labelled a liar.

Michael Cohen was accompanied to court by his children and wife (Craig Ruttle/PA)

The judge said Cohen’s cooperation with prosecutors “does not wipe the slate clean” of his crimes.

Mr Pauley said that Cohen “appears to have lost his moral compass” and that the lawyer “should have known better” than to dodge taxes, lie to Congress and violate campaign finance laws.

After the case, an adviser to Cohen said the former political fixer will “state publicly all he knows” about Mr Trump after special counsel Robert Mueller completes his investigation.

Lanny Davis said that Cohen “continues to tell the truth about Donald Trump’s misconduct over the years”.

Davis, who was previously a lawyer for Cohen, said he will assist him in testifying before any Congressional committee “interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies”.

Cohen has been ordered to hand himself in on March 6 to start his sentence.

The US attorney’s office said it will not prosecute the National Enquirer’s parent company over its efforts to suppress an embarrassing story about Mr Trump during the 2016 campaign.

The agreement was announced shortly after Cohen was sentenced.

Cohen’s crimes included working with American Media Inc to buy the silence of a model who said she had an affair with Mr Trump.

The president denies the affair.

Like Cohen, the tabloid publisher admitted it was trying to influence the election by protecting Mr Trump from a damaging story.

As part of the deal, AMI acknowledged it made a 150,000 US dollar payment to the model “in concert” with the Trump campaign with the intent of influencing the election.

It requires AMI to co-operate with federal prosecutors in any investigation.

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