President Donald Trump’s former attorney and consigliere Michael Cohen was sentenced December 12 to three years in federal prison following a confession in which Cohen described himself as a “blind loyalist” who concealed “dirty deeds” for Trump.
As he was being sentenced to his federal prison term, Cohen, 52, stood at the defense table in a courtroom wearing a dark suit gently nodding his head in shame with closed eyes. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III handed down his sentence in accordance with Cohen’s criminal admission of dishonesty about Trump’s business dealings in Russia and arranging monies for women who took bribes and claimed they had sexual relations with Trump.
Also in his confession, Cohen validated a suspicion long held by federal prosecutors that the former Trump Organization attorney’s criminal acts were made under the direct order of the President himself. Thus far, Cohen is the first and most senior figure in the Trump Organization to criminally inculpate the President for illegal acts under federal law.
The federal government had undertaken a two-year investigation of the Trump circle of intrigue prior to Cohen’s arrest, indictment, and sentencing. This investigation is ongoing and the Cohen case brings up the pertinent legal question of whether the sitting American President can be prosecuted under the laws of the U.S. Constitution.
As he spoke at Cohen’s sentencing hearing, Judge Pauley III gave the convicted attorney a small amount of esteem for admitting his guilt but went on to admonish Cohen by stating that his confession does not “wipe the slate clean.”
“Somewhere along the way Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass. As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better,” Judge Pauley III said, according to the Associated Press.
Cohen was also ordered by Judge Pauley III to pay an IRS restitution fee of $1.39 million dollars, submit a $500,000 dollar forfeiture, and pay an additional $100,000 for other court-related fees. Cohen must report to federal prison on March 6 and left his sentencing hearing without issuing a statement to the press. Prosecutors agreed that Cohen’s three-year sentence modestly satisfied the guidelines of the recommendations they desired. He could have gotten a four to five-year sentence under federal law.
However, Cohen did make a statement before the judge during his hearing.
“Time and time again, I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass. My weakness can be characterized as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump, and I was weak for not having the strength to question and to refuse his demands,” Cohen said in his emotional speech.