Dec. 2 (UPI) — Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump‘s former personal lawyer, has asked if a federal judge can opt against sentencing him to prison, citing his cooperation with special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen’s lawyers filed the request in a memorandum late Friday night citing his contrition and cooperation with Mueller’s investigation.
Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress during Mueller’s investigation. In his plea, he said he mistakenly told House and Senate committees last year that a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016 when development actually continued after that date. He said he lied to minimize ties with Russia during Trump’s campaign. He also pleaded guilty in August to paying two women to keep silent about affair allegations to influence the 2016 presidential election “at the direction of the candidate,” referring to Trump.
His attorneys, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, said his decision to cooperate showed his “personal resolve, notwithstanding past errors, to re-point his internal compass true north toward a productive, ethical and thoroughly law abiding life.”
They added that he “could have fought the government and continued to hold to the party line, positioning himself perhaps for a pardon.”
Further, they said that he has cooperated despite the president regularly denouncing the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
“In the circumstances of this case, at this time, in this climate, Michael’s decision to cooperate required and requires singular determination and personal conviction,” his lawyers wrote.
Judge William Pauley III, who heard his August plea, is expected to sentence Cohen on Dec. 12.