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Michael Cohen To Capitol Hill Feb 8 While Saying He Continues To Cooperate in SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, January 28 – Six weeks after Michael Cohen received a three year sentence in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, on January 28 he announced a change in defense counsel as he "continues to cooperate" in the SDNY, from Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester to Michael Monico and Gary  Spevack.

This comes as he rescheduled his Congressional testimony: instead of February 7, he will appear voluntarily before House Intelligence for closed testimony on Feb 8.  "Mr. Cohen has relayed to the Committee his legitimate concerns for his own safety as well as that of his family,’ Chairman Adam Schiff said. Amid the heating-up of the case(s), Inner City Press is expanding its SDNY coverage. On December 12 surrounded by a sea of cameras and tripods, it live-streamed: see Inner City Press Periscope broadcasts here and here. In Courtroom 20B - while a week before in Courtroom 12A there was a guilty verdict in the UN bribery trial, see below. On Cohen, this US Attorney said, "Robert Khuzami, Attorney for the United States, Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515, announced that MICHAEL COHEN was sentenced today to three years in prison for tax evasion, making false statements to a federally insured bank, and campaign finance violations.  COHEN pled guilty on August 21, 2018, to an eight-count information before U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III, who imposed today’s sentence.  In a separate prosecution brought by the Special Counsel’s Office (“SCO”), COHEN pled guilty on November 29, 2018 to one count of making false statements to the U.S. Congress and was also sentenced on that case today, receiving a two-month concurrent sentence.

            According to the allegations in Information 18 Cr. 602 (WHP), filed by the United States States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (the “Office”), as well as previous court filings and statements in public court proceedings:

            Between 2012 and 2016, COHEN concealed more than $4 million in personal income from the Internal Revenue Service, avoiding more than $1.3 million in income tax.  COHEN also made false statements to a federally insured financial institution to obtain a $500,000 home equity loan.  Finally, in 2016, COHEN made or caused two separate payments to women to ensure that they did not publicly disclose their alleged affairs with a presidential candidate in advance of the election.  In one instance, COHEN caused American Media, Inc. (“AMI”), which was identified in previous court filings as “Corporation-1,” to make a $150,000 payment to one woman; in the other, COHEN made a $130,000 payment to another woman through an LLC he incorporated for the purpose of making the payment.  COHEN was reimbursed for the latter payment in monthly installments disguised as payments for legal services performed pursuant to a retainer, when in fact no such retainer existed.  COHEN made or caused both of these payments in order to influence the 2016 election and did so in coordination with one or more members of the campaign.

            In addition to the sentence of imprisonment, Judge Pauley also ordered COHEN, 52, of New York, New York, to pay a fine of $50,000, to forfeit $500,000, to pay $1,393,858 in restitution to the IRS, and to pay a mandatory $800 special assessment.  Separately, COHEN was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine and to pay a $100 special assessment in the case brought by the SCO.  COHEN was also sentenced to concurrent three-year terms of supervised release in both cases, to follow his term of imprisonment.

            The Office also announced today that it has previously reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, in connection with AMI’s role in making the above-described $150,000 payment before the 2016 presidential election.  As a part of the agreement, AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.  AMI further admitted that its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.

Assuming AMI’s continued compliance with the agreement, the Office has agreed not to prosecute AMI for its role in that payment.  The agreement also acknowledges, among other things, AMI’s acceptance of responsibility, its substantial and important assistance in this investigation, and its agreement to provide cooperation in the future and implement specific improvements to its internal compliance to prevent future violations of the federal campaign finance laws.  These improvements include distributing written standards regarding federal election laws to its employees and conducting annual training concerning these standards."


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