Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Wednesday for a large number of crimes, including tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions.
Judge William H. Pauley III of the Southern District of New York handed down the sentence, knocking six months off the prosecution’s recommended sentence of 42 months. Pauley also sentenced Cohen to two months in prison for the crime of lying to Congress during his testimony in conjunction with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, though that charge will be served concurrently with his three-year term.
He’ll also be shelling out a considerable amount of money: forfeiting $500,000, $1.4 million in restitution, and a $50,000 fine.
Cohen had pleaded guilty in August to the charges, which stemmed from his overall business dealings role in making payments to women Trump had allegedly had affairs with.
Despite a plea for leniency, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York threw the book at Cohen, decrying his litany of crimes as “motivated by personal greed and ambition.”
Cohen reportedly used his opportunity to speak to the court to blast the president, lamenting that he had ever chosen to go to work for Trump when he was still a real estate mogul.
Per Adam Klasfeld, a reporter in the courtroom, here’s how Cohen started his remarks:
Quick fact check on the “today is the day that I am getting my freedom back” part: no. Cohen and his lawyers leaned into this angle, however, characterizing his crimes as service to a corrupt employer rather than personal failings.
During sentencing, however, Judge Pauley seemed to side with the prosecution’s characterization of Cohen, saying that the lawyer “thrived on his access to wealthy and powerful people,” and became one himself.
Part of Cohen’s plea for leniency involved touting his cooperation with prosecutors in the Special Counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller. However, while Special Counsel prosecutors noted that Cohen had provided “useful information,” he did not have a cooperation deal as part of his guilty plea to the SDNY, and did not cooperate fully with prosecutors, refusing to answer some questions about his own involvement.
Pauley recommended that Cohen serve his time in Otisville, a medium-security federal prison a few hours northwest of New York City that’s been ranked as one of the cushiest prisons in America.