Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen does not deserve prison, judge told

Michael Cohen walks out of federal court on Thursday in New York. Cohen admitted he lied to Congress about Donald Trump's real estate negotiations in Moscow

Cohen's lawyers, Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester, also claimed that the Trump campaign wanted to send the message that any contact with Russian Federation by the campaign or Trump corporation had "effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016", despite that being untrue.

"Michael's decision to cooperate and take full responsibility for his own conduct well reflects his personal resolve, notwithstanding past errors, to re-point his internal compass true north toward a productive, ethical and thoroughly law abiding life", Cohen's lawyers wrote in the memorandum, noting that he'd "participated in seven voluntary interviews with the Special Counsel's Office" so far.

After Cohen's guilty plea on Thursday, Trump called Cohen a "weak person" and accused him of making up the story to receive a lesser prison sentence.

The filing cited his cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation has angrily been branded a "witchhunt" by Trump in numerous statements and tweets. "For you, it's a future president Trump". He also met with the NY attorney general's office, which is investigating the Donald Trump Foundation. Cohen also said he falsely told Congress he never took any steps toward traveling to Russian Federation when in fact he had discussed going there.

"That determination has not been made yet", Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said at a federal court hearing in Washington.

"He and [Trump] also discussed possible travel to Russian Federation in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel", they continued, adding, that Cohen states he kept Trump "apprised" of his contacts with Russian Federation during the campaign.

Threaded throughout the document were testimonials from people closest to Cohen - drawn from some three dozen letters that were also submitted - depicting an image of generosity that undercuts the public perceptions of him since his guilty plea.

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Cohen has also "voluntarily met twice" with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the memo said, and separately "met voluntarily" with the New York Attorney General's office "concerning a state court action in which the NYAG has sued the Donald J. Trump Foundation and certain individual defendants, including Donald J. Trump".

In another, a woman wrote that her husband, who is Syrian, had been friends with Cohen since 1984.

The memo noted that Mueller's office is expected to provide the judge with an assessment of Cohen's cooperation, and that the Manhattan prosecutors are to join in presenting Cohen's assistance as a factor for the judge to consider.

Cohen's lawyers Guy Petrillo and Amy Lester asked for the cases to be consolidated so Cohen could be sentenced for all of his crimes at once.

On Thursday, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

But they wrote that Cohen did so because he knew Trump wanted to "dismiss and minimize the merit" of the special counsel's inquiry, and that he and his aides "were seeking to portray contact with Russian representatives in any form by Client-1, the campaign or the Trump Organization as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016".

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