Trump's former lawyer jailed for three years

Trump ex-lawyer Cohen given 3 years in prison

As part of the non-prosecution agreement, American Media reportedly admitted that it made the payment in concert with the Trump campaign in order to bury the story so that it would not influence the election.

"Somewhere along the way Mr. Cohen appears to have lost his moral compass", the judge said.

Asked why he should be believed, Cohen replied, "Because the special counsel stated emphatically that the information that I gave to them is credible and helpful". Cohen's sentence shows them that they can turn on Trump without having to recite every bad act that they've ever committed, or giving up every bum dollar they've ever earned. The judge set March 6 for Cohen's voluntary surrender.

"I gave loyalty to someone who truthfully did not deserve it", Cohen told ABC's George Stephanopoulos Friday morning. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

Cohen got choked up near the end of his remarks and paused briefly to compose himself. His long-time accountant is co-operating with investigators.

Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to arrange hush-money payments with two women because then-candidate Trump "was very concerned about how this would affect the election" if their allegations of affairs became public, the president's former personal attorney said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

"Under the rules, they can't tell that to a federal judge unless they intend to do something with that evidence", he said. "When Michael Cohen is saying they have a substantial amount of information that corroborates that he's telling the truth, that's got to make the Trump team very, very nervous".

For starters, the investigation that resulted in the charges against Cohen and his guilty plea has now shifted to focus on Trump's family real estate company and whether several executives there may have known about or played a role in the hush-money payments.

Cohen also pleaded guilty to making false statements to Congress - a charge stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether Trump's 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russian Federation to get him elected. He said Trump was well aware of important decisions involving his business.

Trump also claimed that Cohen agreed to plead guilty in order to "embarrass him".

He claimed in an interview with Fox News that he "did nothing wrong" and said prosecutors had cooked up the charges to embarrass him.

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"Each of these crimes standing alone warrant considerable punishment", Pauley said, adding that Cohen was "motivated by personal greed and ambition".

On Thursday, Trump blamed Cohen for any wrongdoing and said he never directed the lawyer to break the law. "Mr Trump's repeated lies can not contradict stubborn facts". When asked for his take, Cohen said it sure "seems like" Trump is afraid, because "that's what he does" in these situations. She did not elaborate.

Since the spring, Trump has gone from denying knowledge of any payments to saying they would have been private transactions that weren't illegal.

Cohen said he too knew what he "was doing was wrong".

Trump denies either fling took place, but Cohen says the payments were made at the direction of the president.

Hours later, Trump has finally chimed in about the sentencing on Twitter, and is making even less sense than usual.

The "other member of the campaign" in that meeting was Trump, NBC reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

CBS News has confirmed that the president was in the room when Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed paying hush money in August 2015.

Daniels was paid $US130,000 to silence her about an alleged decade-old dalliance with Trump.

"At the appropriate time, after Mr Mueller completes his investigation and issues his final report, I look forward to assisting Michael to state publicly all he knows about Mr Trump and that includes any appropriate congressional committee interested in the search for truth and the difference between facts and lies", Davis said in a statement.

"I will not be the villain of his story", Cohen concluded.

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