WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York said in court filings Friday that Michael Cohen, the former longtime attorney for Donald Trump, should be sentenced to a “substantial prison term” after pleading guilty to four crimes — despite his assistance with Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe.
In a separate filing, Mueller shed light on how Cohen helped his office’s investigation.
These steps included providing “relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with persons connected to the White House during the 2017–2018 time period.”
Cohen also gave investigators additional information on his efforts to mislead Congress, key Russia-related matters he gleaned from conversations with company executives and attempts from Russian nationals to contact the Trump campaign.
The latter includes 2015 contacts with a Russian national proposing “political synergy” with the Trump campaign.
The Russian also reportedly sought to arrange a meeting between then candidate Trump, identified as Individual 1, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While Cohen did not take the indivdual up on the invitation, they reportedly said it would have “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a business dimension as well,” a nod to the Trump Organization’s efforts to pursue a Trump-branded real estate project in Moscow.
Cohen faces sentencing on Dec. 12 after being charged in the Southern District of New York for tax evasion, false statements to a financial institution and campaign finance violations.
The campaign finance charge is related to a payment Cohen made on Trump’s behalf to two women. Cohen said it was made at the direction of the president and was intended to influence the election.
Last week, Cohen pleaded guilty to a separate charge of lying to Congress brought forward by Mueller’s office.
In Friday’s filings, Mueller’s office stated that they have no opinion on sentencing, but stated that Cohen should serve concurrent sentences for charges filed by prosecutors and the special counsel’s office.
Federal prosecutors are recommending a 42-month sentence. Last week Cohen’s attorneys asked the court for no jail time.
Trump replied to the latest developments on Twitter, claiming without details that it “totally clears” him.
Totally clears the President. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2018
Mueller also filed court filings Friday in relation to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who the Special Counsel’s office said in November violated a plea deal by lying to investigators.
The new documents provide details on what Manafort lied about, including conversations he had with administration officials reportedly stretching into early 2018.
In addition, Mueller’s office found that Manafort lied about a separate investigation, the details of which are heavily redacted, payment to a firm connected to him and the breadth of his communication with Russian political operative Konstantin Kilimnik.
The portions on Kilimnik are also heavily redacted.
In August, Manafort was found guilty on 8 charges related to tax and bank fraud.
To avoid a second trial in federal court, Manafort pleaded guilty to remaining charges and agreed to cooperate with Mueller in September.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to the filings Friday night.
“The government’s filing in Mr. Manafort’s case says absolutely nothing about the President. It says even less about collusion and is devoted almost entirely to lobbying-related issues. Once again the media is trying to create a story where there isn’t one,” Sanders said.
On Cohen, Sanders said “the government’s filings in Mr. Cohen’s case tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”
“Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr. Cohen is no hero,” Sanders added.