Michael Cohen's decision to cooperate with federal investigators ended up slightly lessening his punishment. The lawyer who made his career protecting President Trump was on Wednesday sentenced to 36 months for crimes including making illegal hush-money payments to two women during the 2016 campaign. He is to report for prison on March 6. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Cohen, 52, stood to get about four years in prison, with US District Judge William Pauley III deciding whether the attorney would get leniency or years in prison for campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and lying to Congress about the president's past business dealings in Russia, reports the AP. What you need to know:
- In advance of his sentence being handed down, Cohen had this to say to the court, per the Guardian: "This may seem hard to believe, but today is one of the most meaningful days of my life. I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired."
- That admiration appears gone. He then blamed Trump's "dirty deeds," saying: "Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds."
- The AP reports he "shook his head slightly and closed his eyes" as the sentence was read.