Trump’s ex-lawyer gets three years
Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included making illegal payoffs during the 2016 campaign to keep a porn star and a Playboy model silent about their alleged affairs with US President Donald Trump.
The sentence imposed by Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley III was well below the maximum five-plus years Cohen had faced under non-binding guidelines, but more than the no-jail sentence sought by his lawyer for his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
Cohen's lawyer, Guy Petrillo, said his client was a brave witness who came forward with evidence "against the most powerful person in our country".
Cohen will also have to pay $US2 million ($2.7 million) in combined restitution and fines.
He must report to the federal prison in Otisville, New York, an upstate minimum security prison.
Before learning his fate, Mr Trump's former personal lawyer and longtime "fixer" - who once vowed that he'd "take a bullet for the president" - told the judge that Mr Trump had led him "to choose a path of darkness over light."
"Recently, the president tweeted a statement calling me weak, and he was correct - but for a much different reasons," Cohen said. "Time and again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than listen to my own voice."
"Today is the day I am getting my freedom back," added Cohen, who later broke down in tears.
Among the charges against Cohen was making "hush money" payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal who had threatened to go public during the 2016 presidential election campaign with claims they had affairs with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump this week sought to minimise the importance of the payments saying they were a "simple private transaction" and that they were "wrongly" being called campaign contributions.
Judge William Pauley said Cohen "should have known better" as a lawyer and that his cooperation with the Russia probe "does not wipe the slate clean."
Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti said Cohen deserved to go to prison.
"This nation owes a sense of gratitude to my client Stormy Daniels. We will not stop until the truth is known relating to the conduct of Donald Trump. Let me be clear, Michael Cohen is neither a hero nor a patriot. He lied for months on end about his criminal conduct and the role of the president of the united states. He lied in March, he lied in April, he lied in May, he lied in June, he lied in July, and only until his back was against the wall and he faced significant prison time did he decide to 'come clean'," he said.
"His choice time and time again was to degrade my client, seek to intimidate her, call her and me liars and seek to degrade the office of the presidency of the united states bu seeking to buy effectively an election. This is an outrage. He deserves every day of the 36 month sentence that he will serve".
"Michael Cohen was sentenced today, Donald Trump is next," he said.