US President former lawyer given three years in prison as risks rise for Trump

Vastavam web: President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election, and he promised to keep cooperating with the U.S. government against his former boss. The sentence, which capped a stunning about-face by a lawyer who once vowed to “take a bullet” for Trump, was handed down by a judge in New York on the same day as news that the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid had struck a deal with prosecutors to avoid charges over its role in one of two hush payments involving Trump.

“These prosecutors have charged or reached agreement with everyone involved in this process save one notable exception,” said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. “It seems likely that this effort is directed at building a larger case against Donald Trump.” Trump has denied the affairs and argues the payments to the two women were not campaign contributions. “If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did,” Trump said in an interview on Tuesday.

“From the president’s point of view, it was to protect his family,” Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told. In the Manhattan courtroom, Cohen told U.S. District Judge William Pauley that “blind loyalty” led him to cover up for Trump. Cohen said he was ready to provide “as much information as I truthfully possess” on the president. Pauley sentenced Cohen to three years for the payments, and unrelated crimes of tax evasion and misleading banks. He gave Cohen two months for lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Russia. The judge said the two terms would run simultaneously and he set March 6 for Cohen’s surrender.

While the sentence was a modest reduction from the four to five years recommended under federal guidelines, Pauley described Cohen’s crimes as a “smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct” marked by deception and “motivated by personal greed.” He ordered Cohen to forfeit $500,000 and pay restitution of nearly $1.4 million. Cohen’s father, Maurice, a Holocaust survivor who helped convince his son to cooperate with prosecutors against Trump, showed little emotion during the hearing but later told reporters: “My heart is ripped.”