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Michael Cohen asks judge for no jail time in sentencing after guilty plea

President Donald Trump's former lawyer said his lies were a result of "fierce loyalty" to Trump in a letter sent to a judge late Friday.

Michael Cohen walks out of federal court in

Michael Cohen walks out of federal court in Manhattan on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

President Donald Trump's former lawyer and chief fixer Michael Cohen asked for no jail time on multiple convictions of tax evasion, lying to banks, campaign finance violations in arranging hush-money deals for Trump and lying to Congress in a filing late Friday in Manhattan federal court.

Cohen's sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12; he faces a maximum penalty of 70 years in prison. The submission to U.S. District Judge William Pauley followed a new guilty plea the previous day to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller for lying to Congress about a deal Trump's company pursued in Russia while Trump ran for president in 2016.

In his bid to avoid jail time, Cohen cited ongoing assistance he said he is providing to Mueller, federal prosecutors in Manhattan, New York's attorney general and New York Tax Department authorities, citing the fierce counterattacks both he and Mueller have faced from Trump.

"Although it is true that any decision to cooperate in an investigation directly or indirectly touching a sitting President would be weighty and fraught for any former confidante . . . at this time, in this climate, Michael’s decision to cooperate required and requires singular determination and personal conviction," Cohen's lawyer wrote to Pauley.

Cohen also asked for leniency because his lies about the Moscow deal and his earlier plea to campaign finance violations for arranging payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and another woman who claimed affairs with Trump arose out of his "fierce loyalty" to the president, described as "Client-1."

"Michael regrets that his vigor in promoting Client-1’s interests in the heat of political battle led him to abandon good judgment and cross legal lines," his lawyer wrote.

"This is not an excuse," he added. "Nevertheless, we respectfully request that the Court consider that as personal counsel to Client-1, Michael felt obligated to assist Client-1, on Client-1’s instruction, to attempt to prevent . . . disseminating narratives that would adversely affect the Campaign and cause personal embarrassment to Client-1 and his family."

Cohen, 52, is married with two children. Mueller's office, according to the plea deal released this week, has agreed to write a letter to Pauley describing Cohen's assistance.

No one else has yet been publicly charged on the basis of Cohen's assistance. He did not claim that Trump or others asked him to lie to Congress to downplay the Moscow hotel deals. He did claim in August that Trump directed the hush-money payments, but the president's criminal liability would depend on proof that he knew campaign-finance laws were being violated.

Other crimes that Cohen pleaded to in August — tax evasion over five years and lying to a bank about a loan — did not involve Trump.

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