Michael Cohen pleads guilty again, this time to the Mueller group


By Robert Willmann

As has by now been plastered all over the mass media, Michael Cohen, a former attorney for president Donald Trump, today went into federal court in Manhattan, New York City, to plead guilty as part of a deal in a second case, filed this time by the "special counsel" Robert Mueller group.  Also as before, the deal was telegraphed by a "John Doe" paper filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York–


The charging document is once again an "information", since it was agreed to and not the result of a grand jury indictment.  It alleges that Cohen made false statements to the U.S. Congress directed to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about a "branded property in Moscow, Russia", obviously referring to a Trump property, and is based on Title 18, U.S. Code, section 1001(a) and (c), the proverbial false statement statute [1]–


Since he was pleading guilty through the agreed charging paper filed today, he signed a waiver giving up his right to be charged by an indictment for a felony–


Here is the plea bargain agreement, which at this time has not been filed in the court clerk's file–


Page 8 of the plea agreement indicates that Cohen talked to the Mueller group at least on 7 August 2018, 12 and 18 September, 8 and 17 October, and 12 and 20 November.

His lawyer filed a letter requesting that this new case be consolidated with his other criminal case in the Southern District of New York, and be transferred to Judge William Pauley III, in whose court the earlier case is pending–


Cohen is presently scheduled to be sentenced on 12 December 2018.  The request to transfer the case was granted, as noted on the court clerk's docket sheet–


"11/29/2018 Notice of Case Reassignment as to Michael Cohen, to Judge William H. Pauley, III. Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr  no longer assigned to the case. (ma) (Entered: 11/29/2018)".

At this time, there is no "factual basis" or "statement of the offense" filed in the clerk's file to support the guilty plea.  This is unusual, as normally the factual basis is in writing and filed as part of the plea papers.  Thus, as in his earlier criminal case in the same courthouse, the factual basis was probably done orally in open court at the time of the plea, and the only way to find out what it was is to get a transcript of the hearing from the court reporter.

Most unusual of all is that Cohen is prosecuted for making a false statement to Congress. During the last 10 years or so, has anyone else made a materially false or misleading or fraudulent statement, or covered up or concealed a material fact to Congress, in violation of any U.S. law?  Does anything come to mind causing a person wonder whether or not that has happened, such as Fast and Furious gun running, or maybe on the subject of domestic surveillance …?



[1]  18 U.S.C. 1001



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