Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen arrives at prison
Cohen had been scheduled to start his sentence in March, but was granted a two-month delay to recover from surgery and get his affairs in order.
Michael Cohen said there “remains much to be told” as he headed to prison to begin a three-year sentence for crimes including campaign finance violations related to hush-money payments made on behalf of Donald Trump.
Cohen, the former lawyer, media attack dog and fixer for Mr Trump, walked into the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, where a minimum-security prison camp has become a haven for white-collar criminals.
“There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day when I can share the truth,” he told a crush of media outside his New York City apartment before getting into a waiting car for the journey to prison.
In a shot at the president, he said he hoped when he is released, “the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm”.
Cohen appeared to read from a prepared statement and did not answer shouted questions. He stumbled on the way to the car as reporters and photographers jostled around scaffolding and scuffled with his driver.
Cohen’s lawyer and spokesman Lanny Davis said his client was still available to co-operate with law enforcement, although it is unclear how much his co-operation is wanted.
1) I am proud of .@MichaelCohen212 courageous decision on July 2, 2018, to tell the truth about why @realDonaldTrump represented a danger to our constitution, our freedoms, and our nation’s fundamental values.— Lanny Davis (@LannyDavis) May 6, 2019
2) I have been and will continue to remain vocal on selective prosecution & disproportionate sentencing against @MichaelCohen212. Why is @MichaelCohen212 the only person within the Trump organization to be prosecuted 4 crimes committed @ the direction of @realDonaldTrump— Lanny Davis (@LannyDavis) May 6, 2019
Since mid-March, federal prosecutors in New York have rebuffed Cohen’s repeated offers to provide more information about alleged wrongdoing by Mr Trump and other people in his orbit, Mr Davis said.
“Michael may be sentenced within the walls of a federal correctional institution. But the truth has no walls,” Mr Davis said in a statement.
Cohen’s legal team asked House Democrats last month to intercede after he testified on Capitol Hill, but they were reluctant to do so. Federal prosecutors in New York were also no help, Cohen’s lawyers said.
He had originally been scheduled to start his sentence in March, but a judge granted a two-month delay so he could recover from surgery and get his affairs in order.
Cohen, 52, is the only person charged with a crime in connection with the hush-money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Mr Trump.
Federal prosecutors have said Mr Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 election. Mr Trump denies having trysts with either woman.
Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow, as well as to charges of tax evasion and bank fraud.
In prison, Cohen will undergo medical and mental health screenings and be assigned a job, such as mowing the grounds or cleaning up the visiting room. He will also get sets of clothing, bedding and towels.
At the prison camp, about 115 inmates sleep in bunks lined up in barrack-style halls, instead of individual or two-man cells like in higher-security facilities. Recreational amenities include tennis courts.
Cohen’s fellow inmates include Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, who finishes an eight-month tax fraud sentence in September, and Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland, who is serving a six-year sentence.