Criminal Justice

Michael Cohen./a katz (

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Friday filed a sentencing memo recommending a “substantial prison term” for Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, even as the special prosecutor’s office filed a separate memo that said Cohen has gone to “significant lengths” to aid its investigation.

Cohen is set to be sentenced next week in two federal cases. In the Manhattan case, Cohen admitted to bank and tax fraud, along with campaign finance violations for arranging hush payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump. In the second case, filed by the special prosecutor’s office, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

In the Manhattan case, federal prosecutors said the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines call for a sentence of 51 to 63 months in prison, and Cohen deserves only a “modest downward variance” for assistance provided to the special counsel’s office. The Washington Post, the New York Times and BuzzFeedNews have coverage.

But the separate sentencing memo by the special counsel’s office said Cohen “has gone to significant lengths” to help its investigation, meeting with the office on seven occasions to voluntarily provide information. Any sentence Cohen receives for lying to Congress should be served concurrently with his sentence in the financial crimes case, the memo said.

Besides detailing the involvement of himself and others in the Moscow project, Cohen also provided information about attempts by other Russian nationals to reach the Trump campaign, the special counsel’s office said.

Cohen spoke in November 2015 with a Russian national who said he could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level,” the special counsel memo said. But Cohen did not follow up on that person’s offer of a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Trump, who is referred to as “Individual 1” in the filing.

The sentencing memo by federal prosecutors in Manhattan noted that Cohen’s assistance to the special counsel was not part of a formal cooperation agreement. Although the assistance merits consideration in sentencing, Cohen’s description of his efforts “is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others,” the filing said.

The sentencing range of 51 to 63 months in prison “reflects Cohen’s extensive, deliberate and serious criminal conduct, and this office submits that a substantial prison term is required,” the Manhattan federal prosecutors argued.

According to the federal prosecutors in Manhattan, Cohen “seeks extraordinary leniency—a sentence of no jail time—based principally on his rose-colored view of the seriousness of the crimes; his claims to a sympathetic personal history; and his provision of certain information to law enforcement. But the crimes committed by Cohen were more serious than his submission allows and were marked by a pattern of deception that permeated his professional life.”