Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

Court Deadlines Set Stage for More Russia Probe Details

The special counsel and federal prosecutors in NY are filing court memos detailing the cooperation of longtime Trump legal fixer Michael Cohen, who has admitted lying to Congress and orchestrating hush-money payments to protect the president.

Cohen, who was one of Trump's closest advisers for more than a decade, was motivated by greed and "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends", they said in a court filing.

NY prosecutors, however, were far harsher in their assessment of Cohen's character, saying he should get only a modest reduction in an expected prison sentence of about five years.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations between Trump's business and powerful Russians about a prospective Trump Tower in Moscow, a building that ultimately was never built.

Payments were made to two women who alleged they had sexual relationships with Trump before he ran for president: Playboy model Karen McDougal - who reached an agreement with the publishers of the National Enquirer that she wouldn't share her story of the relationship - and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who received $130,000 to remain silent about a liaison involving Trump.

Trump has denied any collusion with Russian Federation, and Russia has denied any interference in the USA presidential campaign.

Initially, Cohen said his September 2015 comments on Sean Hannity's radio show predicting a "better than likely chance" that Trump would meet Putin that week at the UN General Assembly were "spontaneous and had not been discussed within the campaign". His lawyers want the 52-year-old attorney to avoid prison time altogether.

Mueller's office has been tasked with investigating whether anyone in Trump's campaign conspired with the Russians who were waging those "active measures" against the United States and the West. Prosecutors wrote that Cohen had implicated Trump in the arrangement of hush-money payments to women during the 2016 election.

But none of those lies point to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

In Washington, Mueller also detailed multiple "lies" that former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, 69, told investigators, leading to a termination of his cooperation deal and the likelihood of a stiff prison sentence.

The court papers say Manafort initially told prosecutors he didn't have contact with any people while they were in the Trump administration.

"Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments", it said. "But Cohen's description of those efforts is overstated in some respects and incomplete in others".

Mueller said on Friday that Cohen repeated his false statements about the project in his first meeting with Mueller's office, admitting the truth only in a later meeting in September after he had pleaded guilty to the separate NY charges. But the NY prosecutors were unsparing in their descriptions of his conduct, saying he was motivated by "personal greed" and that he "repeatedly used his power and influence for deceptive ends".

The meeting did not take place.

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