Be careful what you tweet. That is the lesson Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen learned today, after his 2015 boast that Hillary Clinton would go to prison resurfaced as he was himself jailed for three years.
Internet users began posting a photograph of the ironic tweet, which Cohen deleted before entering his guilty pleas, after a federal judge sentenced him to three years jail time.
Cohen had pleaded guilty to multiple crimes including lying to Congress, tax evasion and campaign finance violations.
Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, arrives for his sentencing at United States Court house in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York yesterday
Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and longtime ‘fixer’ is likely to regret jumping on the ‘Lock Her Up’ bandwagon (Trump’s anti-Clinton rallying cry) after he received three years in prison
Cohen, Trump’s personal ‘fixer,’ taunted then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in December 2015, writing: ‘@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!’
The irony in Cohen’s ‘defrauding’ and ‘perjury’ jibe, given the crimes that he was convicted of, has already spawned countless memes – some showing Clinton nonchalantly drinking tea or laughing with President Obama.
Some users pointed out that Clinton is currently enjoying herself in India, attending the wedding of the daughter of India’s richest man, where the lavish celebrations include a Beyonce concert in a lakeside palace.
‘As Hillary lives her best life, Michael Cohen gets 36 months,’ one Twitter user wrote.
‘Hillary Clinton is partying with Beyonce in India. Michael Cohen is going to the hoosegow,’ another added.
During the sentencing, a federal judge said Cohen’s cooperation with the Robert Mueller Russia probe ‘does not wipe the slate clean.’
This 2008 photo showing Hillary Clinton sipping tea has been doing the rounds on Twitter in response to Cohen’s tweet, which has not aged well
As an attorney, Cohen ‘should have known better,’ said the judge, following dramatic courtroom arguments that featured repeated references to President Trump – including his attacks on Cohen as ‘weak’ and a ‘rat’ and Cohen’s own explanation of what it took to provide information against him.
Cohen sought leniency in the courtroom and said he regrets his ‘blind loyalty’ to Trump, a man who helped make him rich and later ‘directed’ him to engage in one of the crimes he pleaded guilty to.
Cohen won’t have to report to jail until March 6, and could still get a further discount to his time if he cooperates.
Twitter users posted memes and reflected on the irony of Cohen’s now deleted tweet saying Hillary Clinton would go to prison for perjury
He had pleaded with a Judge William Pauley to be able to stay out of jail, and expressed regret for trying to cover up Trump’s ‘dirty deeds.’
The former right-hand man to the man who became president also will have to hand over to the government nearly $2 million in combined restitution and fines, having dodged taxes while assembling real estate and taxi business holdings as a top hand to the Trump Organization.
The longtime Donald Trump lawyer took on the president – who he once said he would ‘take a bullet for’ – for having called him ‘weak’ in an attack last month.
A tearful Cohen pleaded for leniency in federal court in Manhattan – but he got 36 months, which the judge called a ‘substantial’ term – although it was below what prosecutors demanded
Family affair: Michael Cohen arrived with his daughter Samantha, who had suffered a hip injury and was walking with a crutch
Hillary Clinton is currently in India at the wedding of billionaire heiress Isha Ambani, 27 to Anand Piramal
‘Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying,’ Cohen told a federal judge in open court.
‘It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds,’ Cohen said.
He blasted Trump for ‘calling me a rat,’ and criticized his longtime employer for trying to sway a proceeding that could in fact ‘implicate’ him.
‘I will continue to cooperate’ with investigators, Cohen pledged.
But after the judge handed down the sentence, Cohen walked past reporters outside the federal courthouse and entered a vehicle without comment.
Hillary Clinton dancing at the wedding of billionaire heiress Isha Ambani, 27, – daughter of India’s richest man – to Anand Piramal
Michael Cohen’s weepy statements in court
I stand before your honor humbly and painfully aware that we are here for one reason.
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.
This may seem hard to believe, but today is one of the most meaningful days of my life.
I have been living in 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. In fact, I now know there is little to admire.
Recently the president tweeted a statement calling me weak and it was correct, but for a much different reason than he was implying. It was because time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.
I blame myself for the conduct which has brought me here today and it was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light.
Seeing the unbearable pain that my associations and my actions have brought to my entire family – this is why I did not enter into a cooperation agreement.
I do not need a cooperation agreement in place to do the right thing. I will continue to cooperate.
I want to apologize to the people of the United States. You deserve to know the truth and lying to you was unjust.
I am committed to proving my integrity and making sure history will not remember me as the villain in his story.
I’m truly sorry and I promise I will be better.
In a courtroom plea for leniency, Cohen’s lawyer, Guy Petrillo, described his client as a brave witness who came forward with evidence ‘against the most powerful person in our country’ – and tried to draw a contrast with former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who prosecutors say committed ‘lies’ despite agreeing to cooperate.
He did so without being able to ‘anticipate the full measure of attack that would be made against him,’ his lawyer argued.
Petrillo called it a ‘profound contrast’ with others who decided to allegedly ‘double deal,’ CNN reported.
Cohen will do his time at a federal prison in Otisville, New York, known to have a full time rabbi serving as a chaplain with kosher food offerings that are required by some Jewish inmates
But Nicolas Roos for the Southern District of New York argued that the charges Cohen pleaded guilty to ‘portray a pattern of deception, of brazenness and of greed.’
Trump late last month called Cohen ‘a weak person and not a very smart person.’
Cohen is subject to forfeiture of $500,000, the amount sought by prosecutors, as well as restitution of $1.4 million and a $50,000 fine.
Cohen advisor Lanny Davis issued a statement saying: ‘Michael has owned up to his mistakes and fully cooperated with Special Counsel Mueller in his investigation over possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
‘While Mr. Mueller gave Michael significant credit for cooperation on the ‘core’ issues, it is unfortunate that SDNY prosecutors did not do the same. To me, their judgment showed a lack of appropriate proportionality,’ he added.
In a signal that Cohen has more information, Davis said he looked forward to helping Cohen speak publicly about ‘all he knows about Mr. Trump.’
Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti was on hand for sentencing, and spoke before the cameras afterwards.
‘He deserves every day of a 36 month sentence that he will serve,’ said Avenatti.
ROBERT MUELLER’S PROBE SO FAR: EIGHT CONVICTIONS – INCLUDING THREE TOP TRUMP AIDES, A JAILED ATTORNEY AND 25 RUSSIANS ACCUSED
GUILTY: MICHAEL FLYNN
Pleaded guilty to making false statements in December 2017. Awaiting sentence
Flynn was President Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Robert Mueller’s most senior scalp to date. He previously served when he was a three star general as President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency but was fired.
He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his conversations with a Russian ambassador in December 2016. He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.
GUILTY: MICHAEL COHEN
Pleaded guilty to eight counts including fraud and two campaign finance violations in August 2018. Pleaded guilty to further count of lying to Congress in November 2018. Sentenced to three years in prison and $2 million in fines and forfeitures in December 2018.
Cohen was Trump’s longtime personal attorney, starting working for him and the Trump Organization in 2007. He is the longest-serving member of Trump’s inner circle to be implicated by Mueller. Cohen professed unswerving devotion to Trump – and organized payments to silence two women who alleged they had sex with the-then candidate: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. He admitted that payments to both women were felony campaign finance violations – and admitted that he acted at the ‘direction’ of ‘Candidate-1’: Donald Trump.
He also admitted tax fraud by lying about his income from loans he made, money from taxi medallions he owned, and other sources of income, at a cost to the Treasury of $1.3 million.
And he admitted lying to Congress in a rare use of the offense. The judge in his case let him report for prison on March 6 and recommended he serve it in a medium-security facility close to New York City.
GUILTY: PAUL MANAFORT
Found guilty of eight charges of bank and tax fraud in August 2018. Pleaded guilty to two further charges. Awaiting sentence
Manafort worked for Trump’s campaign from March 2016 and chaired it from June to August 2016, overseeing Trump being adopted as Republican candidate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He is the most senior campaign official to be implicated by Mueller. Manafort was one of Washington D.C.’s longest-term and most influential lobbyists but in 2015, his money dried up and the next year he turned to Trump for help, offering to be his campaign chairman for free – in the hope of making more money afterwards. But Mueller unwound his previous finances and discovered years of tax and bank fraud as he coined in cash from pro-Russia political parties and oligarchs in Ukraine.
Manafort pleaded not guilty to 18 charges of tax and bank fraud but was convicted of eight counts. The jury was deadlocked on the other 10 charges. A second trial on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent is due in September.
GUILTY: RICK GATES
Pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in February 2018. Awaiting sentence
Gates was Manafort’s former deputy at political consulting firm DMP International. He admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government on financial activity, and to lying to investigators about a meeting Manafort had with a member of congress in 2013. As a result of his guilty plea and promise of cooperation, prosecutors vacated charges against Gates on bank fraud, bank fraud conspiracy, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, filing false tax returns, helping prepare false tax filings, and falsely amending tax returns.
GUILTY AND WILL BE JAILED: GEORGE PAPADOPOLOUS
Pleaded guilty to making false statements in October 2017. Sentenced to 14 days in September 2018, and reported to prison in November. Served 12 days and released on December 7, 2018
Papadopoulos was a member of Donald Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisory committee. He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about his contacts with London professor Josef Mifsud and Ivan Timofeev, the director of a Russian government-funded think tank.
He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.
GUILTY AND JAILED: RICHARD PINEDO
Pleaded guilty to identity fraud in February 2018. Sentenced to a year in prison
Pinedo is a 28-year-old computer specialist from Santa Paula, California. He admitted to selling bank account numbers to Russian nationals over the internet that he had obtained using stolen identities.
He has agreed to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.
GUILTY AND JAILED: ALEX VAN DER ZWAAN
Pleaded guilty to making false statements in February 2018. He served a 30-day prison sentence earlier this year and was deported to the Netherlands upon his release.
Van der Zwaan is a Dutch attorney for Skadden Arps who worked on a Ukrainian political analysis report for Paul Manafort in 2012.
He admitted to lying to special counsel investigators about when he last spoke with Rick Gates and Konstantin Kilimnik.
GUILTY: W. SAMUEL PATTEN
Pleaded guilty in August 2018 to failing to register as a lobbyist while doing work for a Ukrainian political party. Awaiting sentence.
Patten, a long-time D.C. lobbyist was a business partner of Paul Manafort. He pleaded guilty to admitting to arranging an illegal $50,000 donation to Trump’s inauguration.
He arranged for an American ‘straw donor’ to pay $50,000 to the inaugural committee, knowing that it was actually for a Ukrainian businessman.
Neither the American or the Ukrainian have been named.
CHARGED: KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK
Indicted for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice. At large.
Kilimnik is a former employee of Manafort’s political consulting firm and helped him with lobbying work in Ukraine. He is accused of witness tampering, after he allegedly contacted individuals who had worked with Manafort to remind them that Manafort only performed lobbying work for them outside of the U.S.
He has been linked to Russian intelligence and is currently thought to be in Russia – effectively beyond the reach of extradition by Mueller’s team.
INDICTED: THE RUSSIANS
Twenty-five Russian nationals and three Russian entities have been indicted for conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Two of these Russian nationals were also indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 11 were indicted for conspiracy to launder money. Fifteen of them were also indicted for identity fraud.
Vladimir Putin has ridiculed the charges. Russia effectively bars extradition of its nationals. The only prospect Mueller has of bringing any in front of a U.S. jury is if Interpol has their names on an international stop list – which is not made public – and they set foot in a territory which extradites to the U.S.