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By Tom Winter, Ken Dilanian, Rich Schapiro and Doha Madani
Federal prosecutors recommended Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former attorney, serve a “substantial term of imprisonment” after he pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, according to a sentencing memo released Friday.
Manhattan federal prosecutors said he should be given something close to the usual federal sentence for his crimes, which would be between 51 and 63 months.
Though Cohen has been cooperative with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, prosecutors say his crimes were deceptive and “motivated by personal greed and ambition.”
“While Cohen — as his own submissions made clear — already enjoyed a privileged life, his desire for even greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct,” states the memo filed by prosecutors with the Southern District of New York.
“Cohen did not need to commit the crimes that he did, yet he committed them for personal gain,” the memo read. “He was motivated in part by greed and the desire to live an opulent and lavish lifestyle. And for all of Cohen’s outward rectitude, he has lived a double life, which weighs heavily against a variance.”
Cohen’s lawyers had argued to the court that he should be spared prison time given his cooperation with federal prosecutors in two separate cases. But President Trump, in a scathing Twitter post, said his former fixer should receive a “full and complete sentence.”
Cohen, who just last year boasted that he’d take a bullet for Trump, turned on his longtime boss after he became ensnared in federal investigations.
On Nov. 29, Cohen pleaded guilty to a charge brought by the special counsel’s office that he lied to Congress to cover up efforts during the presidential campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The surprise plea marked the first time that Trump and his private business dealings were named in open court as part of Mueller’s probe of Russian election interference and possible ties to the Trump campaign.
Cohen admitted to lying to Senate and House intelligence committees in 2017 to minimize links between the proposed project and Trump as his presidential bid was gaining momentum.
In his plea, Cohen copped to falsely claiming that talks related to the Moscow real estate project ended in January 2016, a month before the Iowa caucuses, when in fact the discussions carried on into June of that year.
Cohen said the president and his family members were privy to the negotiations. He also admitted to communicating with Russian government officials about the deal.
In an unrelated case brought by Manhattan prosecutors, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges — six counts related to his personal finances and two related to campaign finance violations involving hush money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.
Cohen told a court in August that Trump directed him to make payments to two women, apparently porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, in order to secure their silence on the alleged affairs ahead of the presidential campaign.
Prosecutors say Cohen facilitated a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and was involved in a $150,000 payment made by American Media Inc., the company that owns the National Enquirer, to McDougal to buy the rights to her story.
The Friday court filings come three days after Mueller’s office told a judge that former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia, should receive little to no prison time because of his “substantial assistance” in multiple investigations.