Dershowitz: Cohen's Harsh Sentencing Recommendation 'Doesn't Sound Like Good News for Mueller'
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz reacted to news that the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York recommended a "substantial term of imprisonment" for former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
Prosecutors suggested that a federal judge hand Cohen a 42-month prison term on charges that he lied to Congress and violated campaign finance law with shady payouts to two women who alleged they had sexual relationships with then-developer Donald Trump.
Federal prosecutors on Friday recommended a “substantial term of imprisonment” for President Trump’s former personal attorney, saying his efforts to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller were “overstated.”
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a sentencing memo as part of its criminal investigation and grand jury probe into Cohen’s personal business dealings. Cohen pleaded guilty to several counts of tax and business fraud. He also pleaded guilty to making an excessive campaign contribution.
The memo stated that the range of imprisonment for Cohen and his crimes is 51 to 63 months.
"A lot of times, people like Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen think they can outsmart the agents doing the interviews," Dershowitz said after prosecutors said Cohen's cooperation was "overstated in some respects and incomplete in others.
"[Cohen] made it sound like he had information when he didn't have [it]," Dershowitz said.
He also said the report "does not sound like good news for [Robert] Mueller" and the special counsel's case studying whether Trump had illicit connections to Russia.
"They have not found a witness that can give them a key to the kingdom," said Dershowitz, adding that there is a "weak case" against Trump on the "campaign contribution issue" because he is "entitled" to pay off women as a private citizen to protect his family.
Dershowitz added the other aspect of the case, an attempt by Trump to build a skyscraper in Moscow is not a crime, unless there is a "quid pro quo" aspect that would give President Putin a penthouse or something of the like.