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Cohen Accuses Prosecutors of 'Character Assassination' in Newest Bid for Early Prison Release

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Cohen Accuses Prosecutors of 'Character Assassination' in Newest Bid for Early Prison Release

2020-01-13 19:50:24

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Michael Cohen (Image source: Screenshot)

It must be killing Michael Cohen. He worked for years as Donald Trump's personal attorney and "fixer," and now no one is there to do it for him. Despite having his law license taken away, he is toiling away in an Update New York federal prison, filing motions to get an early release. His latest filing accuses prosecutors of "character assassination." 

Cohen worked for Trump since his days as a real estate magnate and continued the same responsibilities into Trump's term as president. However, once the Russia investigation began and things began to fall apart for the president, they fell apart for his fixer as well. Two women accused Trump of having affairs with them and buying their silence during his 2016 campaign and Cohen of setting it up.

The FBI raided Cohen's office and homes and came away with damaging information. He publicly split from Trump, despite previously saying he'd take a bullet for him. He admitted to arranging the payments to the two women, which is a campaign violation. He copped a plea deal for that as well as tax fraud, lying to a bank to get the "hush money" to pay the two women, and making false statements to Congress regarding Trump's Moscow real estate deal in 2016. 

After he copped his plea, Cohen continued to work with investigators and give them more information. He received a three-year prison sentence and has been working since even before he was locked up to reduce this sentence.

On Friday more arguments were filed that accuse federal prosecutors of "character assassination" after they said Cohen wasn't much use to them in the investigation when he was helping them in order to reduce his sentence. Prosecutors have said he lied in meetings with them and didn't answer some questions that could have helped them. 

Yet, since his sentencing in December 2018, he has been working to reduce the three years and seeking the help of the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. He insists that his 170 hours of testimony to Congress and the help he provided state and federal investigators should have earned him their support for a reduction of his sentence.

But the help may not be all he is making it out to be. Repeatedly during his congressional testimony, Cohen was slammed by Republicans asking why they should believe what he is saying now, as he's a known liar. The same has happened with other information he has released. 

He has asked the Southern District of New York prosecutors to submit a "rule 35" letter. This would recommend to a judge that his sentencing be adjusted, but the office has not followed through on his request.

He wrote that after his sentencing, he provided "extensive cooperation" on such topics as "Trump insurance fraud claims,' "Trump's accretion of public space at [Trump Tower] without New York City government approval," and "hush-money payments to former love interests." 

In a December filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said that the former attorney did not deserve early release assistance that he wants because of his lack of credibility. She insists he is not the helpful witness he claims to be.

"Cohen has offered no evidence that he provided substantial assistance to this Office in the investigation or prosecution of others," Strauss wrote to U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley. "To the contrary, the Office reasonably determined that Cohen did not provide substantial assistance after his sentencing, both based on the nature and scope of the information provided and because of substantial concerns about Cohen's credibility as a witness." 

Pauley has not issued a ruling yet in this case.

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