Legal expert Jonathan Turley said Wednesday that Michael Cohen received a lenient sentence of just three years in prison

Cohen was sentenced in New York City Wednesday after pleading guilty to tax evasion, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia.

"I think he got a good sentence from his perspective. I wouldn't have been that generous if I were the judge," Turley, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, said on "Outnumbered." "The judge gave him as good a sentence as he could possibly have hoped for."

He said that U.S. District Judge William Pauley III was actually "slightly hustled" by Cohen, and he made the penalty too low.

"If [Cohen] was disappointed in 36 months, he's wildly out of sync with reality," Turley said. "They initially asked the judge for zero jail time, which was perfect lunacy."

Speaking to Bill Hemmer just before the sentencing, Turley said Cohen has "betrayed everyone" and is the "least compelling and least credible person to ask for a lower sentence."

"He has betrayed everyone on everything. He's betrayed his bar. He's an officer of the court, he betrayed the court. He lied to the public, he lied to Congress," Turley said.



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He added that even the prosecutors who Cohen offered help to are divided on how helpful he was, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team saying he was helpful, but federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York saying he was not fully cooperative.

"If I was the judge, I'd say, 'Look, you got a deal, because you were allowed to plead guilty to fewer counts. You could've been looking at decades. ... Consider yourself lucky."

Turley said "lingering questions" remain about the cooperation offered to Mueller by Cohen. He noted that Mueller has suggested in court filings that Cohen was in contact with the White House at the time he lied to Congress. 

"If that's true, and Cohen is saying that his perjury was known in advance, this can get even more serious for the administration," he explained. 

Watch more from Turley in the clips above.


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