Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to Congress about his work on a possible Trump real estate project in Moscow. Here is a what he told the judge during part of the court proceedings called the allocution, where he is required to describe his crime:
COHEN: Prior to the 2016 presidential election, I had been the executive vice-president and special counsel to Donald J. Trump at the Trump Organization, a Manhattan-based real estate business.
By 2017 I was no longer employed in this capacity, but continued to serve on several matters as an attorney to the former CEO of the Trump Organization and now President of the United States, who is referred to as Individual 1 in the information.
As I had in the years before the election, I continued in 2017 to follow the day-to-day political messaging that both Individual 1 and his staff and advisers repeatedly broadcast, and I stayed in close contact with these advisers to Individual 1. As such, I was aware of Individual 1’s repeated disavowals of commercial and political ties between himself and Russia, his repeated statements that investigations of such ties were politically motivated and without evidence, and that any contact with Russian nationals by Individual 1’s campaign or the Trump Organization had all terminated before the Iowa Caucus, which was on February 1 of 2016.
In 2017, I was scheduled to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as well as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence concerning matters under their investigation, including principally whether Russia was involved in or interfered in the 2016 campaign and election.
In connection with my appearances, I submitted a written statement to Congress, including, amongst other things, a description of a proposed real estate project in Moscow that I had worked on while I was employed by the Trump Organization.
That description was false — I knew at the time — in that I had asserted that all efforts concerning the project had ceased in January of 2016 when, in fact, they had continued through June of 2016;
That I had very limited discussions with Individual 1 and others in the company concerning the project, when in fact I had more extensive communications; and, Lastly, that I had never agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the project and had never asked Individual 1 to travel, when in fact I took steps to and had discussions with Individual 1 about travel to Russia.
And I would like to note that I did not in fact travel there, nor have I ever been to Russia.
I made these misstatements to be consistent with Individual 1’s political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE ANDREW CARTER: Any further allocution requested by the government?
ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY L. RUSH ATKINSON: Your Honor, as set forth in the information, Mr. Cohen submitted in his statement falsely that, upon reaching out to the Kremlin in January of 2016 about the Moscow Project, he had not received any response. In fact, he had received a response from the Kremlin and spoke to someone from the press secretary’s office for approximately 20 minutes. So, in essence, that Mr. Cohen minimized his contacts with the Russian government and stated so falsely in his submission.
CARTER: You want that as part of this allocution?
ATKINSON: Yes, please.
CARTER: Mr. Cohen, did you hear that?
COHEN: I did, your Honor.
CARTER: Is that correct?
COHEN: It is correct, your Honor. There was one contact that I had had for the 20 minutes, as stated.
CARTER: Any further allocution requested by the government?
ATKINSON: No, your Honor. Thank you.
The Associated Press