(Bloomberg) -- Michael Cohen should be sentenced to “substantial” time in prison after pleading guilty in Manhattan to violating campaign-finance laws by arranging secret hush payments to two women who claimed they’d had sex with his former boss, President Donald Trump, federal prosecutors in Manhattan told a judge on Friday.
Cohen admitted in August to arranging the payments to silence the women for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
But a second group of prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to tell the same judge later Friday that Cohen deserves leniency for providing valuable information as a cooperator in their investigation of Russian election interference.
“After cheating the IRS for years, lying to banks and to Congress, and seeking to criminally influence the presidential election, Cohen’s decision to plead guilty –- rather than seek a pardon for his manifold crimes -– does not make him a hero,” federal prosecutors in Manhattan said in a filing.
Read: Manhattan prosecutor’s sentencing brief
Cohen faces five or more years in prison when he’s sentenced on Dec. 12. He’s hoping U.S. District Judge William Pauley will instead give him no time behind bars as a reward for his cooperation and decision to plead guilty to nine criminal counts in the two cases.
Although Cohen "answered questions about the charged conduct, he refused to discuss other uncharged criminal conduct, if any, in which he may have participated," the Manhattan prosecutors said in their filing.
Cohen asked for leniency on Nov. 30, telling a judge in a filing that he should be spared from prison because he’s sharing secrets with Mueller about the president and his company. Cohen’s request came a day after his dramatic, unannounced appearance in Manhattan federal court, where he admitted lying to House and Senate committees and said Trump was seeking to develop a Moscow hotel long after the 2016 presidential campaign got under way.
Cohen sentencing next week comes amid an onslaught of angry comments from Trump and his supporters, including hate mail and threats to him and his family, his lawyers said. In two tweets on Dec. 3, Trump wrote:
“‘Michael Cohen asks judge for no Prison Time.’ You mean he can do all of the TERRIBLE, unrelated to Trump, things having to do with fraud, big loans, Taxis, etc., and not serve a long prison term? He makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, and get his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free. He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence.”
(Updates with details of filing.)
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