Trump says 'never directed' Cohen to break law

Comments follow long-time personal lawyer's sentencing to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to various crimes

Michael Hernandez   | 13.12.2018
Trump says 'never directed' Cohen to break law U.S. President Donald Trump

Washington DC

By Michael Hernandez


U.S. President Donald Trump denied Thursday directing his long-time personal lawyer to break any laws after Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years behind bars.

"He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law," Trump said in a series of lengthy morning tweets. "It is called 'advice of counsel,' and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid."

The comments are Trump's first since Cohen, who had been known as Trump's "fixer," was sentenced following multiple guilty pleas in a series of cases, some of which included his work for Trump.

That work specifically involved two hush money payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars that Cohen made on Trump's behalf to two women who alleged affairs with the president in the run-up to the 2016 election in violation of campaign finance laws.

Cohen also admitted to lying to Congress about Trump's business dealing in Russia.

Cohen said under oath that the payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels were conducted at Trump's direction with the intent of influencing the election.

Prosecutors in the case said that in arranging the payments Cohen "acted in coordination with and at the direction" of Trump, whom they referred to as Individual 1.

But the president said Cohen had pled "to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not guilty even on a civil basis."

"Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook," he said.

It is not clear what Trump was referring to in alluding to Cohen's family, but he added, "As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!"

It further remains unclear if prosecutors could bring charges against Trump as he is a sitting president, but he has nonetheless been implicated by them in official documents.

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