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Michael Cohen is no victim

Michael Cohen was sending a very clear message from the moment he hopped out of a black SUV in front of the ...

Posted: Dec 13, 2018 6:08 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 6:08 AM

Michael Cohen was sending a very clear message from the moment he hopped out of a black SUV in front of the New York courthouse where he was to be sentenced for a series of crimes he pleaded guilty to earlier this year: I'm the real victim here.

Cohen, somber, walked into the courthouse surrounded by his family -- including his daughter, who was using a crutch after a recent surgery. Guy Petrillo, Cohen's lawyer, said that his client "had the misfortune to have been counsel to the President."

Michael Cohen

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Donald Trump

Political Figures - US

Last month, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts including tax fraud, false statements to a bank and breaking campaign finance law in coordinating with President Donald Trump to keep secret a set of hush money payments in the run-up to the 2016 election to two women for alleging they had affairs with Trump.

And when Cohen had a chance to address the sentencing judge personally, he sought to drive home the idea that he had been personally victimized by Trump. "This may seem hard to believe, but today is one of the most meaningful days of my life," Cohen said. "I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired."

Later, he added that "it was my blind loyalty to this man that led me to take a path of darkness instead of light. I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds."

Riiiiiiight.

Here's the thing: Up until this summer -- Cohen copped a plea deal in August -- he has been among this least sympathetic of all the figures in this story. Cohen was the toughest-talking, most aggressive Trump defender at any cost out there.

"They say I'm Mr. Trump's pit bull, that I'm his right-hand man," Cohen said back in 2011. "I've been called many different things around [The Trump Organization]. What I am is a loyal employee. I like the man. A lot."

"I will do anything to protect Mr. Trump," he pledged in 2017.

"I'm the guy who would take a bullet for the President," he once told Vanity Fair. "I'd never walk away."

Cohen's about-face during his trial was explained by a very simple human response: Survival. He had watched as his home, office and hotel were raided by federal agents in the spring. Thousands of texts, emails and other documents had been collected in those raids.

Trump, sensing danger, tried to send Cohen a message to stay strong via a series of tweets:

"The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don't speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will 'flip,' " Trump tweeted. 'They use non-existent 'sources' and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!"

And for a time, it worked! Cohen stayed quiet. But as spring turned to summer, it became very clear -- to Cohen, at least -- that the feds had him red-handed.

Suddenly, Cohen was a totally changed man. He hired Lanny Davis, a onetime confidant of the Clintons, to represent him. Davis cast Cohen's change of heart as a "declaration of independence" from Trump. (Cohen made his first comments suggesting that he was no longer Trump's most loyal foot soldier in a July 2 interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.)

That attempt to spin Cohen as a well-meaning stooge of a man who manipulated him for sport might have made the former Trump fixer a more sympathetic figure for those who loathe the President.

But it left Judge William Pauley cold.

Pauley was blunt on Wednesday, saying, "Mr. Cohen pled guilty to a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct." And then he sentenced Cohen to three years in prison.

Cohen is the fourth person to be sentenced to jail as a result of the special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller. (Mueller referred the Cohen case to the Southern District of New York.) The broad conclusion from those four cases is that the judicial system is not willing to accept the idea that everyone was a hapless victim here, or that no one really knew that they were doing anything but following orders.

All of which should send a chilling message to those still under Mueller's gaze as he -- presumably -- enters the final stages of issuing his report.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1462456

Reported Deaths: 20308
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2005922494
Lake992001456
Allen903391005
Hamilton70705539
St. Joseph63078746
Elkhart48098622
Vanderburgh46217523
Tippecanoe42115330
Johnson37119516
Hendricks35078455
Porter33900460
Madison28036530
Clark25186321
Vigo24768341
LaPorte22894307
Monroe22201243
Howard21344372
Delaware20937363
Hancock18289217
Kosciusko17513199
Bartholomew17399212
Warrick16060212
Wayne15757296
Floyd15399252
Grant14898293
Morgan13934230
Boone13172136
Noble11421140
Dearborn11355112
Henry11312201
Shelby11231150
Marshall11041166
Dubois10782152
Jackson10174104
DeKalb9944128
Cass9942142
Lawrence9914219
Huntington9823139
Gibson9131125
Montgomery9005140
Knox8762124
Harrison8718111
Whitley844771
Steuben8340102
Jasper8069113
Putnam795197
Clinton792994
Miami7914133
Wabash7598138
Jefferson7551124
Ripley6993111
Adams6508101
Scott629086
Daviess6266127
White602379
Greene5913111
Clay587173
Wells5814120
Decatur5754118
Jennings572276
Fayette5657121
Posey529146
LaGrange512996
Randolph4925128
Washington482067
Owen480398
Fountain463579
Spencer438156
Starke434086
Sullivan432164
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Jay403964
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Carroll371349
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Switzerland189414
Martin181921
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Union163619
Ohio119516
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2403645

Reported Deaths: 30922
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2596932036
Cuyahoga2572672998
Hamilton1666711699
Montgomery1103831586
Summit1066861382
Lucas895171149
Butler78647924
Stark747301383
Lorain62885783
Warren49934468
Mahoning49735909
Lake46850586
Clermont43541428
Delaware38876210
Trumbull38576748
Medina37611416
Licking36901401
Fairfield33848331
Greene32124416
Portage31381356
Clark30277440
Richland28251420
Wood27660289
Allen24372392
Miami22806389
Muskingum22298244
Columbiana22095399
Wayne21275354
Tuscarawas18847423
Erie18041221
Ashtabula17932338
Marion17503231
Scioto16553203
Ross16163249
Pickaway15536173
Hancock15251227
Geauga15244221
Lawrence13847186
Huron13399182
Union1329683
Belmont13255247
Jefferson12864257
Sandusky12770197
Athens11949106
Knox11511195
Seneca11454200
Ashland10795174
Darke10673196
Washington10564168
Auglaize10152141
Crawford9854175
Shelby9699155
Brown9400140
Fulton9235148
Guernsey9109115
Defiance9057134
Highland9035143
Logan8955141
Clinton8719121
Mercer8640111
Madison8568104
Preble8002160
Williams7848135
Putnam7731135
Ottawa7629120
Champaign7556112
Jackson7383114
Perry714598
Coshocton7043136
Morrow694580
Fayette662287
Hardin6219125
Pike617086
Gallia594989
Adams5779124
Van Wert5779120
Henry565592
Hocking5521103
Carroll4828100
Wyandot482289
Holmes4747161
Paulding401163
Meigs375071
Monroe299368
Noble279851
Harrison279461
Morgan276848
Vinton239845
Unassigned08
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