Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen begins three-year jail term | US News
Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has begun a three-year prison sentence.
As he left his New York City apartment, Cohen said: “I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in place without xenophobia, injustice, and lies at helm of our country.
“There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.”
Cohen will be held in the minimum-security section of Ottisville federal correctional facility in upstate New York.
It is known as a relatively gentle place, popular with Jewish and white collar criminals.
Cohen’s stay there marks the start of the next chapter in an extraordinary story in which a once loyal Trump confidante publicly and dramatically turned against his old boss.
Lawyers from the Southern District of New York (SDNY) federal prosecutors’ office began investigating Cohen after special counsel Robert Mueller, who was running the Russia probe, handed them the case.
Over the course of 2018 Cohen was charged and pleaded guilty to various crimes, including making illegal hush money payments to silence two women alleged to have had an affair with Donald Trump, tax evasion, and lying to Congress about the extent of negotiations between The Trump Organisation and a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
For these crimes Cohen was eventually sentenced to three years in federal prison.
But his involvement with prosecutors didn’t end there.
Cohen flipped on his old boss, and as a result of the information he handed over, prosecutors at the SDNY began investigating Mr Trump himself, as well as his businesses and associates.
Abandoned by the president, Cohen testified before Congress that Mr Trump directed him to commit crimes, and called him a racist conman.
New York prosecutors were particularly interested in the hush money payments, and also began looking at the president’s inaugural committee.
But Donald Trump has not been formally accused of a crime in relation to these investigations, and has always denied any wrongdoing.
In any case, it is a long-held Department of Justice legal opinion that a sitting president cannot be charged.
In a statement, Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said: “I will continue questioning why Michael is the only person within the Trump organisation to be prosecuted for crimes committed at the direction of and for the benefit of Mr Trump.
“I am confident that when he returns, Michael will continue to be appreciated by the many millions of Americans who admire the courage he showed in standing up to Donald Trump’s hate machine and putting his family and country first.”
Mr Trump has called Cohen “a rat” for helping prosecutors.
But from the president’s point of view, he may be thinking that Cohen has done his worst and failed to make a dent.