Ex-Lawyer Michael Cohen Says He Told Trump About Kremlin Contact

Paul Manafort may face new charges after reportedly lying to Russia investigators- National

Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress

The thrust of Cohen's argument for leniency is his extensive cooperation in the "unique" circumstances in which the special counsel's investigation is operating. The filing also included letters written by Cohen's family, friends, and associates, including his father who is a Holocaust survivor, speaking to Cohen's character, in the hopes that he would receive a lesser sentence. "Michael had a lengthy substantive conversation with the personal assistant to a Kremlin official following his outreach in January 2016, engaged in additional communications concerning the project as late as June 2016, and kept [Trump] apprised of these communications", his attorneys wrote, adding, "He and [Trump] also discussed possible travel to Russian Federation in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel".

Prosecutors have said that next week they plan to reveal what they believe are lies Manafort told since he pleaded guilty in the Washington case in September and agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

Cohen's lawyers said prison would be inappropriate given hardships Cohen faces, including loss of his law license, Internal Revenue Service civil penalties and restitution, his likely inclusion as a defendant in a tax case by New York State, the loss of his consulting firm's business and the cancellation of numerous banking credit card and insurance agreements. As part of his plea deal with the USA attorney's office, Cohen faces 46 to 62 months in prison.

"Michael participated in seven voluntary interview meetings with the Special Counsel's Office of the Department of Justice", they also wrote.

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But Cohen declined to enter into a traditional agreement because he wanted to avoid a delay in his sentencing "as investigations and trials unfold and conclude", his lawyers wrote Friday.

They alleged Cohen was assured by Trump he would be reimbursed for paying the lawyer of one of the women accusing him of an affair, and that Cohen "kept his client contemporaneously informed and acted on his client's instructions". The filing does not provide further details.

His lawyers note in Friday's filing that at the time of his congressional testimony, Cohen "remained in close and regular contact" with White House staff and Trump's lawyers. At the time, Cohen's then attorney had a joint defense agreement with Trump's legal team.

In a filing seeking a lenient sentence, Cohen's attorneys say his false statement to Congress - which Cohen pleaded guilty to on Thursday - was based on Trump and his team's efforts to "portray contact with Russian representatives" by Trump, his campaign or his company "as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016". "In each case, the conduct was meant to benefit [Trump], in accordance with [Trump]'s directives", they wrote.

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Cohen's sentencing submission also describes how Cohen's life changed following the April FBI raid on his home, office and hotel room. "But, following the execution of search warrants in this case, almost every professional and commercial relationship that he enjoyed, and a number of long-standing friendships, have vanished".

They say he'll continue to cooperate, though he wants to be sentenced as scheduled on December 12 so he can return to providing for his family.

Cohen, the lawyers argue, should be commended for his cooperation "in the context of this raw, full-bore attack by the most powerful person in the United States".

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