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Cohen gets 3 years in jail

UPDATE 9:20 a.m.

Michael Cohen, who as President Donald Trump's personal lawyer and fixer once vowed he would "take a bullet" for his boss, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison for an array of crimes that included arranging the payment of hush money to two women that he says was done at the direction of Trump.

The sentence was in line with what federal prosecutors asked for. Sentencing guidelines called for around four to five years behind bars, and prosecutors asked in court papers that Cohen be given only a slight break.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III said Cohen deserved modest credit for his decision over the summer to admit guilt and co-operate in a federal investigation of efforts by Russians to influence the presidential election, but his assistance "does not wipe the slate clean."

"Somewhere along the way Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass," the judge said. "As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better."

Cohen told the judge just before he was sentenced that loyalty to Trump led him astray.

"It was my blind loyalty to this man that led me to take a path of darkness instead of light," he said. "I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds."

Cohen's lawyers had argued for leniency, saying he decided to co-operate with investigators rather than hold out for a possible pardon.

"He came forward to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country," Cohen's lawyer, Guy Petrillo, told the judge during the hearing.

Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty in August to evading $1.4 million in taxes related to his personal businesses. In the part of the case with greater political repercussions, he also admitted breaking campaign finance laws in arranging payments in the waning days of the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom said they had sexual encounters with Trump.


ORIGINAL 5:35 a.m.

Michael Cohen, a lawyer who made his career protecting President Donald Trump, is set to learn Wednesday whether his decision to co-operate with federal investigators will lessen his punishment for dodging taxes, lying to Congress and violating campaign finance laws.

A federal judge in New York is set to decide whether Cohen gets leniency or years in prison for making illegal hush-money payments to two women to protect Trump during the campaign — a scandal that could damage Trump's presidency. Other crimes for which Cohen will be sentenced include tax evasion and lying to Congress about the president's past business dealings in Russia.

Cohen, 52, is due to appear at 11 a.m. at a courthouse in Manhattan for a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge William Pauley III.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, he stands to get about four years in prison, but his lawyers have argued for leniency.

Some of Cohen's crimes, they said, were motivated by overenthusiasm for Trump, rather than any nefarious intent.

He has pleaded guilty to misleading Congress about his work on a proposal to build a Trump skyscraper in Moscow, hiding the fact that he continued to speak with Russians about the proposal well into the presidential campaign.

Cohen also pleaded guilty in August to breaking campaign finance laws by helping orchestrate payments to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who said they had sexual encounters with Trump while he was married.



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