Feb. 20 (UPI) — A federal judge in New York City agreed to delay Michael Cohen’s three-year prison sentence Wednesday so he can recover from shoulder surgery and prepare for congressional testimony.
District Judge William Pauley pushed back Cohen’s March 6 sentence start date to May 6, 60 days later. The 52-year-old former personal attorney for President Donald Trump pleaded guilty last year to nine charges, one of which stems from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
In a letter requesting the delay, Cohen’s lawyer, Michael Monico, said his client “underwent a serious surgical procedure” and requires physical therapy and follow-up appointments when his doctor. Monico said prosecutors did not object to the postponement.
Cohen’s shoulder surgery also caused him to postpone testimony before the Senate intelligence committee earlier this month.
Cohen originally was invited to testify publicly before the House oversight committee on Feb. 7, but postponed the appearance citing verbal attacks against him and his family by Trump and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s current personal lawyer.
After that appearance was postponed, U.S. Marshals subpoenaed him to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Feb. 12.
Cohen testified before House and Senate committees in 2017 that a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, but he pleaded guilty to lying during those testimonies in November.
The court documents say Cohen lied to lawmakers out of loyalty and to minimize ties with Russia during Trump’s campaign.
Monico cited three congressional hearings as a second reason for delaying his prison sentence.
Testifying “will require Mr. Cohen to spend substantial time in preparation that will limit the time he has to get his affairs in order and spend time with his family, especially given such a short period between the anticipated hearings and the present reporting date,” the letter said.
In addition to the charge linked to the Mueller investigation, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion and one count each of excessive campaign contribution, unlawful corporate contribution and making false statements to a bank.
The campaign finance charges stem from his involvement in making payments in 2016 to two women — Stormy Daniels, also known as Stephanie Clifford, and Karen McDougal — who said they had affairs with Trump. Prosecutors said they were intended “to influence the election from the shadows.”