Michael Cohen Asks Santa For Early Release, SDNY Dumps Load Of Coal Down His Chimney
God may forgive Michael Cohen, but the Southern District of New York will not. Last night SDNY filed its response to Cohen's motion for a reduction of his sentence, and the president's former lawyer/fixer/pornstar-payer/bank of last resort is clearly on Santa's naughty list. Turns out, lying all the time and to everyone you meet makes you pretty much useless as a government witness. Go know!
Last week, Michael Cohen's lawyers filed multiple affidavits attesting to his voluminous cooperation with the government and howling in indignation that anyone might describe their client as lacking in credibility. How very dare you, sir, suggest that Michael Cohen, a man who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, is an unreliable witness!
In response, the feds filed a motion pointing out that they could have charged Cohen for perjury for all the times he swore under oath that he never nohow tried to get a job in the White House after the election, helpfully including the transcript of that testimony, a link to a television interview where he expressed his hope for a White House job, texts where he said he anticipated being named chief of staff, and a secretly recorded conversation where he affirmed same. The fact that it was just a STUPID LIE, which convinced no one, is immaterial. It still made Cohen totally useless as a government witness.
Although not necessary to the instant inquiry, these false statements were also material, because, among other things, truthful answers to questions about his efforts to obtain a position within the Administration (and his disappointment at failing to do so) bore directly on Cohen's credibility, potential biases and incentives to provide truthful information.
So he was useless on the witness stand and can't help them build a case against Donald Trump Jr. for participating in campaign finance fraud by reimbursing him for the Stormy Daniels payment. But did Cohen give them any good leads? Was he an endless fount of useful information? LOL, NOPE.
Cohen's provision of information to this Office clearly does not rise to the level of "substantial assistance." It has not resulted, either directly or indirectly, in the prosecution of any individuals. It has not led to the discovery of any evidence used in the prosecution of others. And apart from conclusory assertions about the importance of his information, Cohen's various submissions have failed to identify a single way in which Cohen's proffers have actually assisted in the investigation or prosecution of another, as Rule 35 requires.
And before Lanny Davis gets busy bragging about how cooperative his client was in August of 2018 when he met with the Special Counsel's Office, he might want to remember that Cohen lied to Mueller's team at that meeting, and only started telling the truth after he pleaded guilty.
Prior to his sentencing, Cohen also made attempts to cooperate with the SDNY. However, as previously set forth in the Government's sentencing memorandum, Cohen sought to provide information only about certain subjects, and repeatedly declined to provide full information about the scope of any additional criminal conduct in which he may have engaged or had knowledge.
Cohen already got the benefit of that cooperation, minimal and belated though it was, since the government went along with the downward variation in his sentencing from 51 to 36 months. He isn't going to get a Get Out Of Jail Free card just because his attorneys keep calling the SDNY with "repeated requests for further proffer sessions," particularly when Cohen keeps whining to any reporter who'll listen that he was just a victim who did it all for Trump, engaging in a "protracted public relations campaign, in which he sought to cast himself as both victim and hero, aimed at creating the appearance of cooperation." The president is a vile sumbitch for sure, but he's not responsible for Cohen's convictions for tax and loan fraud.
So it's not looking good for our Mikey, what with the Second Circuit precedent very clearly leaving post-sentencing relief to the discretion of prosecutors. It doesn't look like he's going to find home detention and one day a week of community service in his stocking next week. Probably going to be a big old lump of coal for the world's shittiest witness. Ho ho ho.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.