NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s ex-personal lawyer told a judge Friday that he’s the victim of a continuing campaign of “character assassination” by prosecutors who oppose his time behind bars being trimmed from three years to one.
Michael Cohen said in a court document filed in Manhattan federal court that federal prosecutors are “using innuendo, conjecture, and inaccurate opinions as a basis for urging the Court’s denial of the pending motion.”
He added in his letter to U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III that the “continued ‘character assassination’” by prosecutors isn’t relevant to his request to be released from prison after serving a year and one day.
He said the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan “stubbornly refuses” to acknowledge the breadth, scope and relevance of over 170 hours of testimony he gave to nine government agencies.
Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for prosecutors, said the office had no comment.
Cohen, 53, is housed at a federal prison in Otisville, New York, after pleading guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and lying to Congress, among other charges. He began serving his sentence last May.
Cohen maintains he deserves early release for telling investigators about the president’s misdeeds.
In court papers of their own, prosecutors say Cohen has offered no evidence that he provided them with substantial assistance of the kind that warrants a significant reduction in sentence. And they say Congressional testimony does not earn a reduction either.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018, abandoning his longtime position of loyalty to Trump. He later met with federal and state prosecutors in New York and with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, telling them he had lied to Congress to protect Trump.
Cohen said he now feels targeted by the president because Trump wants to depict him as a convicted liar and by Republican members of the House Oversight Committee.
He recalled that Trump had frequently asked him what role he wanted in his administration before he was offered a job as an assistant to the White House counsel.
Cohen said he “truly wanted” the position he received.
“There was no perceived shame to being President Donald J. Trump’s ‘personal attorney,’” especially for a man who had started Trump’s presidential campaign in 2011 and 2015, acted as the president’s “fiercest surrogate,” and protected his and his family’s interests for a decade, he said.