Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries, Veronica Rocha and Amanda Wills, CNN
3:21 p.m. ET, December 12, 2018
11:48 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Cohen addresses the court: "I take full responsibility"

From CNN's Erica Orden

Michael Cohen is now addressing the court at his sentencing in Manhattan.

"I take full responsibility for each act that I pled guilty to: The personal ones to me and those involving the President of the United States of America," he said.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight charges, including several counts of tax fraud and campaign finance violations. He also pleaded guilty last month to a charge of lying to Congress from Mueller's office.

11:44 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Prosecutors say Cohen's campaign finance crimes carried "tremendous social cost"

From CNN's Erica Orden

Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Roos addressed the campaign-finance crimes, saying they carried a "tremendous societal cost." 

Roos said "in committing these crimes, Mr. Cohen has eroded faith in the electoral process and compromised the rule of law."

11:42 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Mueller's office says Cohen "has told the truth"

From CNN's Erica Orden

Jeannie Rhee, with special counsel Robert Mueller's team, said Cohen has been honest.

"He has told the truth," she told the court.

Last week, the special counsel's team released a memo about Cohen saying he has cooperated with its inquiries.

After Rhee spoke, Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Roos addressed the court on behalf of the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

"For all the hypothesizing that Mr. Petrillo has done, Mr. Cohen can’t have it both ways," he said, referencing Cohen's lawyer, Guy Petrillo's speech to the court. "There is a standard way this office conducts cooperation."

He added: "We’ve treated Mr. Cohen just the way we treat every other defendant that deal with the us attorney's office."

The Manhattan US attorney's office has asked for Cohen to receive a "substantial" sentence of roughly four years. However, Cohen and his legal team has asked for no prison time, citing his cooperation with multiple investigations — including the special counsel's Russia probe.

11:33 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Lawyer: Cohen had the "misfortune to have been counsel to the President"

From CNN's Erica Orden

Michael Cohen's lawyer, Guy Petrillo, said Cohen has been treated unlike other defendants by prosecutors, noting that "Mr. Cohen had the misfortune to have been counsel to the President." 

Cohen long served as the President's personal attorney and Trump's "fixer." Cohen even once boasted he would "take a bullet" to protect his longtime boss.

Petrillo, in court today, said Cohen wants to cooperate but that "he’s wary of a long term cooperation agreement."

"He wants both to remove himself and remove his family from the glare of the cameras," he said.

11:29 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Cohen's lawyer, comparing Mueller's investigation to Watergate, says his client came forward "against the most powerful person in our country"

From CNN's Erica Orden

Michael Cohen's lawyer Guy Petrillo, addressing the court, said that his client "came forward to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country," alluding to Cohen's testimony about President Trump.

Cohen, Petrillo said, couldn't "anticipate the full measure of attack that would be made against him" by both the President and "partisans and citizens who happen to be aligned with the President."

"Those attacks include threats against his family," Petrillo said.

Petrillo said special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election "is of utmost national significance, no less than seen 40 years ago in Watergate."

Petrillo also noted Cohen's actions "stand in profound contrast to the decision of some others not to cooperate and allegedly to double deal while pretending to cooperate."

11:25 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Michael Cohen's in-laws don't think he's coming home today

CNN caught up with Michael Cohen's in-laws, Fima and Ania Shusterman, as they made their way to court this morning. Asked it they felt Cohen would be coming home today, they were doubtful.

CNN: Do you think he’ll be coming home today?
Shusterman: "I don’t think so."

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to two campaign finance violations tied to payments he made or orchestrated to women during the campaign to stay silent about alleged sexual encounters with Trump, five counts of tax fraud and one count of making false statements to a bank.

The Manhattan US Attorney's office has asked for Cohen to receive a "substantial" sentence of roughly four years.

Watch below:

11:13 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Here's how the judge explained the sentencing guidelines

From CNN's Erica Orden

US District Court Judge William Pauley III is speaking in court and addressing the discrepancy between how the defense and the government view the grouping of the counts against Michael Cohen for the purposes of sentencing.

Pauley says the government's argument is correct in terms of how to group the tax evasion counts for sentencing purposes.

Here's how the guidelines break down, according to Pauley:

  • For the charges from New York prosecutors: Cohen's guideline range is 51 to 63 months in prison
  • For the special counsel charges: The guideline range is zero to six months of imprisonment
11:00 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

The sentencing has started

The Michael Cohen sentencing just started at the Manhattan federal courthouse.

Cohen's sentence today will be the result of both the special counsel's investigation and a related case from Manhattan federal prosecutors.

He is facing years in prison: The Manhattan US attorney's office has asked for Cohen to receive a "substantial" sentence of roughly four years. Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller's office did not give a sentence recommendation but said Cohen had cooperated with its inquiries.

10:21 a.m. ET, December 12, 2018

Michael Cohen just arrived at the courthouse

Michael Cohen has arrived at the Manhattan federal courthouse for his sentencing, accompanied by his wife, daughter and son.

His sentencing is set to begin at 11 a.m. ET.

Watch the moment below: