Lawyers for Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, are asking a federal judge for leniency and to not sentence him to prison, citing their client's cooperation with the government.
"Michael's decision to cooperate and take full responsibility for his own conduct well reflects his personal resolve, notwithstanding past errors, to re-point his internal compass true north toward a productive, ethical and thoroughly law abiding life", his lawyers wrote.
"Nearly every professional and commercial relationship that he enjoyed, and a number of long standing friendships have vanished", it reads. And they said Cohen lied about efforts to finalize a Trump business project in Moscow during the heart of the campaign because he knew it was Trump's "strongly voiced mantra" to minimize the investigation into connections between his campaign and the Kremlin.
"Arising out of Michael's concern that his entry into a traditional cooperation agreement would likely delay his sentencing, as investigations and trials unfold and conclude, he respectfully declined to pursue conventional cooperation so that his sentencing proceeding would go forward as scheduled", Cohen's lawyers wrote.
"In the context of this raw, full-bore attack by the most powerful person in the United States, Michael, formerly a confidante and adviser to Mr. Trump, resolved to cooperate", his attorneys wrote.
The request came in the form of a memorandum filed late Friday, one day after Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen's lawyers wrote that he kept Trump "apprised of these communications", and he and Trump "discussed possible travel to Russian Federation in the summer of 2016, and Michael took steps to clear dates for such travel".
"Michael regrets that his vigor in promoting [Trump]'s interests in the heat of political battle led him to abandon good judgment and cross legal lines", the lawyers wrote.
Cohen a year ago acknowledged sending the emails to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov in January 2016, but said he killed the proposal after talking to Peskov's office. He also acknowledges he spoke to an assistant of Peskov's for 20 minutes by phone about the project.
The memo disclosed that Cohen also had met voluntarily with investigators from the New York Attorney General's Office regarding a lawsuit it has brought against Trump and his foundation.
Cohen told Congress that he killed the proposal after talking to Peskov's office, which was a lie.
Threaded throughout the document were testimonials from people closest to Cohen - drawn from some three dozen letters that were also submitted - depicting an image of generosity that undercuts the public perceptions of him since his guilty plea.
In one, former New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford said he thought so highly of Cohen that he gave him the special teams game ball after the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI over the New England Patriots in 2012.
A prosecutor from Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office told a judge on November 30 that prosecutors have not yet decided whether to file new charges against Manafort.
Cohen also said he talked with Trump, referred to as "Client-1" in the filing, about traveling to Russian Federation to pursue the project deep into the 2016 presidential campaign.