President Donald Trump on Thursday denied directing his former lawyer Michael Cohen to break the law, saying it was Cohen’s fault if anything he did on Trump’s behalf was illegal.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison on Wednesday for an array of crimes he committed while employed by Trump.
Cohen has implicated Trump in some of those crimes, saying he broke the law out of „blind loyalty“ to the president. He said in court that he had felt it was his „duty“ to cover for what he described as Trump’s „dirty deeds.“
Cohen’s lawyer, Guy Petrillo, said during Wednesday’s sentencing that Cohen had come forward „to offer evidence against the most powerful person in our country.“
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced that they had reached a nonprosecution agreement with American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, which spent $150,000 to purchase the rights to, but not publish, the account of Karen McDougal, the model who said she had a 10-month affair with Trump.
While Cohen says he broke the law at Trump’s direction, Trump’s attorneys argue that the payments to buy the silence of McDougal and of the porn star Stormy Daniels, who Cohen paid $130,000 in October 2016 to keep her from discussing what she says was a 2006 affair with Trump, were a „simple private transaction“ and did not constitute campaign finance violations because they were made to protect Trump’s family and businesses.