Federal prosecutors on Friday filed a memo recommending “substantial” prison time for former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen despite his assistance, according to the document.
The document said:
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),” it added.
The four crimes as outlined were: Willful tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, illegal campaign contributions, and making false statements to Congress.
The memo said while prosecutors agree that Cohen should receive credit for his assistance with the special counsel’s office, since he chose not to be a formal cooperating witness, he would only get a modest reduction in sentence.
While the willful tax evasion and making false statements to a financial institution charges have nothing to do with Trump, the illegal campaign contributions and making false statements to Congress were related to his campaign.
The memo said Cohen played a “central role” in two schemes to keep porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal silent about alleged affairs they had with Trump.
“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,” it said.
Prosecutors have maintained that since the payments exceeded the amount an individual can contribute to one’s campaign, $2,700, the payments were illegal campaign contributions, although he was later reimbursed.
The memo was harsh on Cohen’s payoffs of the two women, and sought to tie them to Trump’s win, arguing that Cohen “coordinated” with the Trump campaign. It said:
First, Cohen’s commission of two campaign finance crimes on the eve of the 2016 election for President of the United States struck a blow to one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency. While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.
Additionally, the document contended,”It is this type of harm that Congress sought to prevent when it imposed limits on individual contributions to candidates. To promote transparency and prevent wealthy individuals like Cohen from circumventing these limits, Congress prohibited individuals from making expenditures on behalf of and coordinated with candidates. Cohen clouded a process that Congress has painstakingly sought to keep transparent. The sentence imposed should reflect the seriousness of Cohen’s brazen violations of the election laws and attempt to counter the public cynicism that may arise when individuals like Cohen act as if the political process belongs to the rich and powerful.”