In court filings, federal prosecutors in NY and those working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller made the case for why Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, deserved prison time.
Prosecutors in both of the Cohen cases were required to submit separate memos yesterday on his cooperation to U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan, who will decide on the former lawyer's sentence on December 12.
The memo said while prosecutors agree that Cohen should receive credit for his assistance with the special counsel's office, since he chose not to be a formal cooperating witness, he would only get a modest reduction in sentence.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to violating campaign finance law when he arranged payments to an adult-film star during the 2016 election.
Trump has made little secret of his frustration with the swirling probe into Russian election interference and potential misdeeds committed by those in his orbit and is seeking to undermine the legitimacy of Mueller's investigation. He has said he did so to stay in sync with Trump's political messaging, and that he consulted with the White House while preparing to testify to Congress.
Among other things, those documents indicated that prosecutors believe Trump ordered Cohen to pay hush money to two women he'd had affairs with to protect his presidential run.
Yesterday, Mueller said Cohen's false statements to Congress had "obscured the fact" that the skyscraper project held the potential to reap "hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources" for the Trump Organization.
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The special counsel also will detail the lies prosecutors say former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told that led to his plea deal falling apart.
In November 2015, Cohen spoke with a Russian national who said he could offer the campaign "political synergy" with Russia and repeatedly proposed a meeting with Putin.
The White House similarly dismissed that filing, arguing it "says absolutely nothing about the President".
Trump repeated his criticism again on Friday and said on Twitter that his attorneys have already begun work on a rebuttal to Mueller in case the special counsel's report is damaging to Trump and becomes public. Last month Mueller voided Manafort's plea agreement because, they said, he was not telling the truth.
A heavily redacted court filing said that Manafort's "lies" included untruths about his dealings with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who USA officials suspect is a Russian intelligence operative, and about his contacts with Trump administration officials after striking a plea agreement. Mueller's office also submitted a sentencing memo today for Cohen's other guilty plea from the end of November, where he acknowledged lying to Congress when he said negotiations with Russian Federation to build a hotel in Moscow had ended before the primary season kicked off in the spring of 2016 (they had not).
Cohen had been hoping prosecutors would make a similar recommendation in his case.
The report was expected to provide more information on Mueller's probe, but federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted the special counsel's request to file the report under seal and ordered a redacted version to be released.
Prosecutors said the court's Probation Department estimated that federal sentencing guidelines call for Cohen to serve at least four years in prison.
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