Cohen acted at Trump’s direction when he broke law: Prosecutors

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New York, Dec 8 (IANS) US prosecutors have said that Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former attorney, acted at the President’s direction when he committed two election-related crimes during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The revelations came in a set of court filings on Friday in which the prosecutors in New York said Cohen should receive a “substantial” prison sentence of roughly four years for tax fraud and campaign-finance crimes, and as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office accused the President’s former attorney of lying about his contacts with Russia, CNN reported.

Mueller’s disclosures also exposed deeper entanglements than previously known between Trump, his campaign apparatus and the Russian government, including that a Russian national who claimed to be well-connected in Moscow spoke with Cohen in 2015 and offered “political synergy” with the Trump campaign.

The pair of memos from two sets of prosecutors reflected competing views of Cohen’s utility to the federal investigations ahead of his scheduled sentencing on December 12.

“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” the prosecutors from the Manhattan US attorney’s office said.

Individual-1 is the term prosecutors have been using to refer to the President.

In their filing, they knocked Cohen’s “rose-coloured view of the seriousness of his crimes”, noting his years-long willingness to break the law.

“He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends.”

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes after being charged by the Manhattan federal prosecutors.

The crimes included tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and campaign-finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including payments Cohen made or helped orchestrate that were designed to silence women who claimed affairs with the then-presidential candidate.

Trump has denied those claims, CNN reported.

Cohen was subsequently charged last week by Mueller’s office with one count of lying to Congress about the Moscow project.

He pleaded guilty, disclosing that talks about the effort in Moscow had extended through June 2016, after Trump had become the presumptive Republican nominee for President, and that both Trump and his family members had been briefed on the discussions.

Cohen’s attorneys have asked the judge to spare their client jail time, asserting that he has shown “fortitude” by cooperating with the Mueller probe.



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