WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 12, 2018) (RESTRICTED POOL) – Hours after Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday (December 12), President Donald Trump ignored reporter questions and made no public remarks about his former lawyer.
Cohen was charged with orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election and financial crimes, posing potential legal and political risks to Trump. The sentencing capped a stunning about-face by a lawyer who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump. Cohen said in a guilty plea in August that he was directed by Trump to make hush money payments to two women who said they had sexual affairs with the president in the past. Trump has denied the affairs and any involvement in the payments.
“I felt it was my duty to cover up his own dirty deeds,” Cohen said in court on Wednesday, referring to Trump.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to charges including tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations in a case brought by federal prosecutors in New York. Cohen was sentenced on a separate charge of lying to Congress brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Moscow. Cohen pleaded guilty to that charge last month.
Federal prosecutors in New York charged that Cohen, just before the November 2016 election, paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 and helped arrange a $150,000 payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal so the women would keep quiet.
Federal law requires that the contribution of “anything of value” to a campaign must be disclosed, and an individual donation cannot exceed $2,700.