During his sentencing hearing on Wednesday morning, Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, accepted blame for his illegal actions — though at times he also placed the blame on his former client.
In spite of his admission of guilt — and cooperation with the special counsel investigation surrounding Trump and his staffers during the 2016 presidential campaign — Judge William Pauley determined that Cohen’s crimes were serious enough to warrant him spending some time in federal prison.
With regard to his egregious actions, which Cohen himself admitted to conducting as part of a plea arrangement with the special counsel, Pauley said “as a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better,” according to reporting from ABC News.
Due to his criminal activities, which included financial crimes as well as elections fraud charges acting on Trump’s behalf, Pauley believed it behooved him to sentence Cohen to three years in prison. He could not overlook the “veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct” motivated by “personal greed and ambition” that Cohen had admitted to. A penalty had to be laid upon Cohen, Pauley explained, because they required “specific deterrence” to demonstrate to others that such acts were wrong, and deserving of punishment, MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin reported in Twitter post concerning the sentence.
Before his sentence was read out by the judge, Cohen expressed regret and remorse for the actions he undertook. He described himself as a “weak” person for not standing up to the president when he conducted the allegedly illegal actions. He also explained that in coming before the court today, pleading guilty to these crimes over the past few months, he felt a renewal of spirit, of sorts.
“Today is the day that I am getting my freedom back,” Cohen said, according to reporting from the Daily Beast.
At times tearing up during his personal statement, Cohen made a direct comment to the American people, apologizing for his conduct while working for Trump. “You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust,” Cohen said.
Although he says that he helped the president to commit crimes while he was his counsel, some have argued that the history books will be kind to Cohen in the future. Attorney Lanny Davis, for instance, believes that Cohen’s work in the Russia investigation is not yet done.
Cohen “will some day be appearing as a John Dean” type person, referencing the individual whose admission of guilt turned the tide in the Watergate investigation. Cohen may someday appear “before a congressional committee, and will tell all the truth about what he knows about Donald Trump.”