Two sentencing memos related to Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, dropped on Friday.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations in a case brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. On November 29, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, in relation to the Mueller investigation.
Each sentencing memo revealed something new about the charges against Cohen being investigated by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.
Among the revelations in the 40-page sentencing document from federal prosecutors was that Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”
Individual-1 is widely believed to be President Donald Trump. This coordination relates to the payment of two women who allege that they had affairs with Trump.
“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” the memo states. “Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.”
“In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1,” the document continues. “As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.”
In the sentencing memo submitted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to Judge William H. Pauley III, federal prosecutors rejected Cohen’s attorney’s call for no prison time, saying that “Cohen, an attorney and businessman, committed four distinct federal crimes over a period of several years.”
“He was motivated to do so by personal greed, and repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends,” the memorandum continues.
It acknowledges that Cohen cooperated with the special counsel’s office, but says that his “extensive, deliberate, and serious criminal conduct” warrant 3.5 years of prison time.
The surprising revelation from Mueller’s memo included the words “synergy” in regards to contact with a Russian national.
“In or around November 2015, Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level,'” the Mueller memo claims. “The defendant recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 and the President of Russia.”
Said person allegedly told Cohen that contact could have a ‘phenomenal’ impact ‘not only in political but in a business dimension as well,’ which was allegedly a reference to the “Moscow Project” — or Trump’s attempts to build a luxury tower in Moscow. Cohen did not follow up on this offer, the memo says.
Due to Cohen’s “substantial and significant efforts to remediate his misconduct accept responsibility for his actions, and assist the SCO’s investigation,” Mueller’s office recommended to let Cohen “serve any sentence imposed in this case concurrently with any sentence imposed in United States v. Cohen.”
The White House responded to the Cohen memos.
“The government’s filings in Mr. Cohen’s case tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr. Cohen is no hero.”
Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12.