Michael Cohen, ex-Trump lawyer, asks US judge for leniency

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and financial crimes in a case brought by the USA attorney in Manhattan.

Russian spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed in an interview with NBC News that communication between former Trump fixer Michael Cohen and Russian officials on Trump Tower Moscow did indeed happen, but that after a few attempts at conversation it all came to nothing.

He faces a possible sentence of up to five years in prison on the false statement charge and a potential $200,000 fine, but sentencing guidelines in the plea deal ranged from zero to six months.

The memo noted that Mueller's office is expected to provide the judge with an assessment of Cohen's cooperation, and that the Manhattan prosecutors are to join in presenting Cohen's assistance as a factor for the judge to consider.

Cohen, the lawyers argue, should be commended for his cooperation "in the context of this raw, full-bore attack by the most powerful person in the United States".

He pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress, a charge that his lawyers said resulted in part from information he voluntarily provided Mueller's team in meetings governed by a limited-use immunity agreement.

His attorneys, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, said his decision to cooperate showed his "personal resolve, notwithstanding past errors, to re-point his internal compass true north toward a productive, ethical and thoroughly law abiding life".

Cohen has been cooperating with Robert Mueller's investigation into the ties between Trump and Russian Federation, and his lawyers argued that his cooperation should earn him a sentence of "time-served" as opposed to the potential sentence of five years and three months recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

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In July, a report by The New York Times revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had recordings of President Trump discussing hush money payments for a former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

"He could have fought the government and continued to hold to the party line, positioning himself perhaps for a pardon or clemency".

Cohen's lawyers sought to address speculation over why their client has not entered into a formal cooperation agreement with prosecutors, saying Cohen was concerned that such a deal would delay his sentencing. His lawyers, though, disputed those calculations and argued his remarkable, if out-of-the-ordinary, cooperation warranted a sentence of "time-served".

Cohen's lawyers wrote that he kept Trump "apprised of these communications", and he and Trump "discussed possible travel to Russian Federation in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel".

"Michael regrets that his vigor in Client-1's interests in the heat of political battle led him to abandon good judgment and cross legal lines", they said.

Threaded throughout the document were testimonials from people closest to Cohen - drawn from some three dozen letters that were also submitted - depicting an image of generosity that undercuts the public perceptions of him since his guilty plea.

Cohen, his lawyers say, committed the campaign finance violations and lied to Congress out of his loyalty to Trump and to stay on message even while he was preparing for his 2017 testimony to Congress.

In another, a woman wrote that her husband, who is Syrian, had been friends with Cohen since 1984.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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