I was hiking on my birthday when Michael Cohen finally went to prison. By the time that he made the walk, few of Michael Cohen’s former clients or associates are likely returning his calls these days. After revealing that he taped clients without their consent and confessing to various felonies, Cohen is radioactive. However, one group of people joining the “lose my number” list is apparently chilling for Cohen: the federal prosecutors. Cohen’s counsel Lanny Davis has confirmed that Cohen has repeatedly tried to arrange meetings to share new information with prosecutors in the hopes of delaying his prison stint beginning tomorrow or securing a reduction in his sentence. They have refused. For a man who has made his career on being willing to do anything for powerful figures, Cohen is in the one place that he most feared: he is alone and out of options. In his final statement as a free man, Cohen again dangled the prospect of his sharing more information — a repeated suggestion that must truly irritate prosecutors and congressional investigators who have been repeatedly told by Cohen that he has shared everything that he knows.
Cohen has repeatedly gamed the system. He has claimed to be unable to appear at hearings and then was seen out on the town in a fancy restaurant. After assuring that he had turned over everything, he suddenly found a huge amount of new evidence and unsuccessfully tried to delay his prison date to go through the cache of evidence. Cohen was told by Chairman Elijah Cummings that he would be referred for prosecution by any false testimony and proceeded, in the view of many, to make such false statements. (Cummings decided to accept a later “clarification”). Then, shortly before he reported to prison, Cohen contradicted his sworn statements before the court and Congress by suddenly denying that he committed crimes that he previous pleaded guilty.
The Mueller report and recent coverage does not paint Cohen in a flattering light — showing that (rather than having a moral epiphany) Cohen continued to the last minute to seek a pardon from Trump. It was only when he was rebuffed that Cohen tried to make a deal with Mueller.
In his last statement, Cohen again seemed determined to portray himself as a whistleblower despite the fact that most of his crimes were unrelated to Trump. Cohen stated “I hope when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice, and lies at the helm of our country.” Again, seeking to game a reduction in his sentence, he told reporters “there still remains much to be told.”
Cohen reported to a federal prison 70 miles north of New York City that is known to house many white collar criminals in a dormitory-like environment.