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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Michael Cohen Touts Cooperation in Bid to Reduce Sentence

Asking a federal judge to reduce his sentence, the president's former fixer Michael Cohen submitted a flurry of supporting documents Wednesday related to his government cooperation.

(CN) – Grandly likening himself both to Doctor Faustus and President Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel John Dean, Michael Cohen told a federal judge Wednesday that the 170 hours that he spent cooperating with eight government agencies merits a sentencing break.

“All that affirmant thought was important and valuable has been painfully revealed as derived, as if through a ‘Faustian bargain,’” the incarcerated former fixer to President Donald Trump wrote in support of his motion.

“Like former White House counsel John Dean observed in his book ‘Blind Ambition,’ affirmant thought being Donald Trump’s lawyer made him a ‘big man,’” the 6-page affirmation continues. “Affirmant now realizes, as he walks the Otisville Camp paths, that he, in fact ‘sold his soul,’ and foolishly frittered away his integrity.”

For good measure, Cohen also likened himself to the central villain of Shakespeare’s “Othello.”

“Affirmant now sees what Iago meant in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ when he said ‘He who steals my purse steals trash, he who steals my good name steals all,’” the affirmation states.

Cohen's motion comes almost a year to the day that he was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III him to three years in a federal prison for a “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct.”

The now-disbarred attorney says Trump and one of his attorneys share responsibility for at least one of his crimes.

"The conviction for lying to Congress, as previously stated in deponent’s attestation, was done for the benefit of President Donald J. Trump, and urged by counsel Jay Sekulow.”

Since reporting to the Otisville prison on May 9, Cohen has kept up his breakneck pace of cooperation.

“Even while incarcerated, affirmant has undertaken to make himself available to the government, including three meetings with the New York County District Attorney’s Office in furtherance of their investigations,” Cohen wrote, estimating that his meetings with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office lasted approximately 10 hours.

Cohen noted that his cooperation helped support the investigation that culminated in subpoenas by Vance’s office to Trump’s accounting firm Mazars.

Suing to halt that probe, Trump has failed before multiple courts in advancing arguments that a county prosecutor may not investigate a sitting president or any of his associates for any crime. That case, Vance v. Trump, is pending now at the Supreme Court.

Defense attorney Roger Adler asked Judge Pauley to reduce Cohen’s sentence or transfer him to home confinement with a mandate of community service.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.

In an email exchange supplied with Cohen’s motion, Adler is seen urging that office to open investigations into members of Trump’s family and former White House communications director Hope Hicks.

“Your office charged Mr. Cohen with two counts of campaign finance fraud (7 and 8), even though he concededly no position in the Trump campaign, and has ignored, to date, allegedly falsified business records which and created by, or on behalf of, Donald J. Trump,” Adler’s Nov. 15 email to the Southern District states. “Ms. Hope Hicks, a Trump confidante, was aware of the payments, apparently did not relay them, or knowledge to the campaign treasurer.”

Calling attention to a Manhattan judge’s $2 million fraud ruling against the Trump Foundation, Adler also highlighted the Justice Department’s memo advising against indicting a sitting president does not apply to his family members.

“Against this backdrop, we urge your office not to ‘close its eyes’ to (or consciously avoid) Mr. Cohen’s proffered full cooperation, and proactive assistance,” Adler wrote.

The attachment shows Assistant U.S. Thomas McKay rejected Adler’s offer on Nov. 25.

“Our concerns about Mr. Cohen’s ability to provide cooperation have not diminished and we, therefore, decline your request for a further meeting at this time,” McKay wrote.

Federal prosecutors have long slammed Cohen for a spotty record of what they have called “selective cooperation,” as Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos put it at the attorney’s sentencing.

“After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress, and seeking to criminally influence the presidential election, Cohen’s decision to plead guilty – rather than seek a pardon for his manifold crimes – does not make him a hero,” Roos wrote in a 40-page brief last year.

Categories / Criminal, Politics

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