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Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building on New York's Park Avenue, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. In the latest filings Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

US: Michael Cohen deserves prison despite cooperation

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Updated December 07, 2018 05:08 PM EST

By CHAD DAY and ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, deserves substantial prison time despite his cooperation, prosecutors said Friday.

The recommendation was in a filing ahead of Cohen's sentencing in New York next week.

Cohen pleaded guilty to federal charges and cooperated in multiple state and federal probes over several months, including having seven meetings with special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Prosecutors said the court's Probation Department estimated that federal sentencing guidelines call for Cohen to serve at least four years in prison. Prosecutors said the range "reflects Cohen's extensive, deliberate and serious criminal conduct."

Prosecutors said Cohen should not receive the credit a traditional cooperating witness would receive "given, among other reasons, Cohen's affirmative decision not to become one."

By CHAD DAY and ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Robert Mueller is set to reveal more details about his Russia investigation Friday as he faces court deadlines in the cases of two men who worked closely with President Donald Trump.

The special counsel and federal prosecutors in New York are filing court memos detailing the cooperation of longtime Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen, who has admitted lying to Congress and orchestrating hush-money payments to protect the president. And Mueller's team will also be disclosing what they say former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about when his plea deal fell apart last month.

Cohen and Manafort are among five former Trump associates whom prosecutors have accused of lying either to federal investigators or to Congress.

Robert Mueller
FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. Mueller is set to reveal more details about his Russia investigation as he faces court deadlines in the cases of two men who worked closely with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The court filings will close out a week in which Mueller's team for the first time provided some details of the help they've received from former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. Prosecutors, who said Flynn's assistance was "substantial" and merited no prison time, disclosed that he had cooperated not only with the Russia investigation but also with at least one other undisclosed criminal probe.

The new details about Mueller's investigation are set to become public as Trump continues to lash out at the Russia investigation and those who help prosecutors. Trump singled out Cohen, accusing him of lying to get a reduced prison sentence. The president also praised another associate, Roger Stone, for saying he wouldn't testify against him, and Trump said a pardon for Manafort isn't off the table.

In a series of Friday morning tweets, the president attacked individual law enforcement and intelligence officials by name and accused Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the Justice Department official who appointed him — of conflicts of interest. He also said his lawyers were preparing a "counter to the Mueller Report."

"Already 87 pages done, but obviously cannot complete until we see the final Witch Hunt Report," he said.

In the latest filings Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much. In doing so, they'll have to provide a federal judge with at least some description of the assistance he's provided to their investigations — the Russia probe and a separate investigation led by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.

In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts, including tax evasion and campaign finance violations. He said Trump had directed him before the 2016 election to arrange payments to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom alleged they had affairs with Trump.

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, former lawyer to President Donald Trump, leaves his apartment building on New York's Park Avenue, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. In the latest filings Friday, prosecutors will weigh in on whether Cohen deserves prison time and, if so, how much. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Last week, Cohen made a surprise guilty plea to lying to Congress, a move that refocused attention on Trump's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign.

He admitted he lied about the details of a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, saying that talks about the project went on until June 2016 — longer than he previously said. Cohen also said he discussed the project with Trump during the presidential campaign, undercutting the then-Republican presidential candidate's statements that he didn't have any deals in Russia.

Trump has downplayed the project and stressed that he never put any money into the deal and ultimately decided not to do it.

In Manafort's case, prosecutors are expected to lay out what torpedoed the cooperation agreement he made when he pleaded guilty in September to two felony charges of conspiracy.

In late November, prosecutors revealed that Manafort had repeatedly lied to them but did not say about what. The allegations exposed him to the possibility of additional criminal charges and a lengthier prison sentence.

Manafort's attorneys have denied that he made false statements, and a judge is expected to hear from them before deciding whether he actually lied. Manafort, who was convicted in August in federal court in Virginia of eight financial crimes, also awaits sentencing in that case.

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