‘Trump involved in hush payments, Russia contacts’
Jail term sought for Cohen
NEW YORK, Dec 8: U.S. prosecutors said on Friday President Donald Trump directed his personal lawyer to make illegal hush payments to two women ahead of the 2016 election, and also detailed a previously unknown attempt by a Russian to help the Trump campaign.
In a separate case, federal prosecutors Friday demanded "substantial" jail time of between 51 to 63 months -- four to five years -- for Cohen for bank fraud and campaign finance violations to which he plead guilty in August.
US Attorney Robert Khuzami accused the 52-year-old, who once vowed to take a bullet for the president, of being motivated by "personal greed" and of "repeatedly" using his power and influence for "deceptive ends."
"Totally clears the President. Thank you!" Trump tweeted cryptically as television networks were consumed by the Cohen documents -- which the White House dismissed as revealing "nothing of value."
The campaign finance violations to which Cohen plead guilty -- unrelated to the Russia investigation -- concerned hush payments he made on Trump's behalf to alleged former lovers of the president, including porn star Stormy Daniels.
In the 40-page document Khuzami drew a direct link between Cohen's illegal behavior and Trump.
"In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1," the document reads, referring to Trump.
Robert Mueller, the special counsel heading up the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 vote, followed up with a separate filing saying Cohen had made "substantial and significant efforts to remediate his misconduct, accept responsibility for his actions, and assist" the special investigation, a thorn in Trump's side.
Cohen continued to provide "relevant and truthful information" to assist the probe, holding seven sessions with investigators, "many of them lengthy, and continues to make himself available to investigators," it said.
He had provided information about contacts with Russian interests during the campaign, attempts by Russians to reach the campaign and about contacts with "persons connected to the White House" in 2017-2018, the filing added.
Around November 2015, some five months after Trump launched his bid for the presidency and well before previously reported contacts, Cohen spoke to a purported "trusted person" in the Russian Federation who offered the campaign "political synergy" and "synergy on a government level." -AFP