A Manhattan federal judge has given the feds a hard deadline to weigh in on whether President Trump’s disgraced former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, should go to jail for a litany of crimes, including lying to Congress about his dealings with the Russians.
Judge William Pauley on Thursday ordered Manhattan federal prosecutors and the Special Counsel’s office probing Russian interference in the 2016 election to hand in their sentencing recommendations for Trump’s former “fixer” no later than 5 p.m. Friday.
The Special Counsel’s office, led by Robert Mueller, will also file sentencing documents Friday in a separate case against Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to financial fraud tied to money he made lobbying for Ukraine politicians.
Previously, the feds had until midnight Friday to say whether they think Cohen should be ordered to serve time when he goes before Pauley on Dec. 12.
Cohen faces as much as 70 years in lockup when he is sentenced next week, although federal defendants are generally sentenced to far less than the statutory maximum even when they have refused to cooperate.
Cohen’s lawyers, meanwhile have asked for zero prison time, saying he’s a changed man and has cooperated fully with Mueller’s probe.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws tied to hush-money payoffs he said he made at Trump’s request to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom claim to have had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.
Last week, he also copped to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump tower in Moscow — potentially with help from the Russian government — late in the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen didn’t say Trump directed him to lie to Congress but claimed he did it anyway out of “loyalty” after hearing Trump express anger over questions about Russian interference in the election.
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