In a new filing, the Office of the Special Counsel said Cohen has disclosed 'relevant and useful' information to its investigation.
Case 1:18-cr-00850-WHP Document 15 Filed 12/07/18 Page 1 of 7
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
No. 18 Cr. 850 (WHP)
GOVERNMENTaS SENTENCING MEMORANDUM
The Special Counselas Office (aSCOa) provides this memorandum in connection with the
sentencing of Michael Cohen scheduled for December 12, 2018. On November 29, 2018, Cohen
pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress, in violation of 18 U.S.C.
ASS 1001(a). The government does not take a position with respect to a particular sentence to be
imposed but submits that it is appropriate for any sentence of incarceration to be served
concurrently to any sentence imposed by the Court in United States v. Cohen, 18-cr-602 (WHP).
The defendantas crime was serious. He withheld information material to the investigations
of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election being conducted by the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence (aSSCIa), the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
(aHPSCIa), and the SCO. The defendant lied to Congress about a business project (the aMoscow
Projecta) that he worked on during the 2016 presidential campaign, while he served as Executive
Vice President at a Manhattan-based real estate company (the aCompanya) and as Special Counsel
to the owner of the Company (aIndividual 1a). The defendant admitted he told these liesawhich
he made publicly and in submissions to Congressain order to (1) minimize links between the
Moscow Project and Individual 1 and (2) give the false impression that the Moscow Project had
Case 1:18-cr-00850-WHP Document 15 Filed 12/07/18 Page 2 of 7
ended before the Iowa caucus and the first presidential primaries, in hopes of limiting the ongoing
Russia investigations being conducted by Congress and the SCO.
In recent months, however, the defendant has taken significant steps to mitigate his
criminal conduct. He chose to accept responsibility for his false statements and admit to his
conduct in open court. He also has gone to significant lengths to assist the Special Counselas
investigation. He has met with the SCO on seven occasions, voluntarily provided the SCO with
information about his own conduct and that of others on core topics under investigation by the
SCO, and committed to continuing to assist the SCOas investigation. The information he has
provided has been credible and consistent with other evidence obtained in the SCOas ongoing
The defendantas offense conduct is set forth in the Information and the Presentence
Investigation Report (PSR). We underscore particular facts for purposes of sentencing.
The defendantas lies to Congress were deliberate and premeditated. His false statements
did not spring spontaneously from a line of examination or heated colloquy during a congressional
hearing. They started in a written submission that he chose to provide to both houses of Congress
ahead of his appearances. These circumstances show a deliberate effort to use his lies as a way to
set the tone and shape the course of the hearings in an effort to stymie the inquiries.
The defendant amplified his false statements by releasing and repeating his lies to the
public, including to other potential witnesses. The defendant was scheduled to appear before both
intelligence committees in closed sessions. Prior to testifying, the defendant made a public
appearance at the U.S. Capitol and released his prepared opening statement, which falsely claimed
that the Moscow Project awas terminated in January of 2016[,] which occurred before the Iowa
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caucus and months before the very first primary.a By publicly presenting this false narrative, the
defendant deliberately shifted the timeline of what had occurred in the hopes of limiting the
investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential electionaan issue
of heightened national interest.
The defendantas false statements obscured the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative
business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government. If
the project was completed, the Company could have received hundreds of millions of dollars from
Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues. The fact that Cohen continued to work on
the project and discuss it with Individual 1 well into the campaign was material to the ongoing
congressional and SCO investigations, particularly because it occurred at a time of sustained
efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the U.S. presidential election. Similarly, it was
material that Cohen, during the campaign, had a substantive telephone call about the project with
an assistant to the press secretary for the President of Russia.
The defendantas false statements to Congress began in approximately late August 2017,
when he submitted his written statement about the Moscow Project to SSCI and HPSCI. His false
statements continued through his oral testimony before the committees in October 2017. And
when Cohen first met with the SCO in August 2018, he repeated many of his prior false statements
about the circumstances of the Moscow Project.1 Only when the defendant met with the SCO a
second time on September 12, 2018aafter he had pled guilty in United States v. Cohen, 18-cr-602
This initial meeting with the SCO, on August 7, 2018, was set up at Cohenas request. In
that meeting, Cohen voluntarily provided information relevant to other aspects of the SCOas
ongoing investigation, but when asked questions about the Moscow Project, Cohen provided false
answers in what he later explained was an effort not to contradict his congressional testimony.
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(WHP)adid the defendant admit that his prior statements about the Moscow Project had been
deliberately false and misleading.
Acceptance of Responsibility
Starting with his second meeting with the SCO in September 2018, the defendant has
accepted responsibility not only for his false statements concerning the Moscow Project, but also
his broader efforts through public statements and testimony before Congress to minimize his role
in, and what he knew about, contacts between the Company and Russian interests during the course
of the campaign.
Cohen admitted that he had lied to Congress and to the SCO about the Moscow Project.
He provided detailed information about the true circumstances of the Moscow Project, including
its duration, the persons involved in the discussions, contacts with Russian government officials,
and discussions during the first half of 2016 about the possibility of travel to Russia in connection
with the Moscow Project. In addition to correcting the timeline and detailing the contacts he had
during pursuit of the Moscow Project, Cohen explained financial aspects of the deal that would
have made it highly lucrative for the Company and himself. The information provided by Cohen
about the Moscow Project in these proffer sessions is consistent with and corroborated by other
information obtained in the course of the SCOas investigation.2
The defendant, without prompting by the SCO, also corrected other false and misleading
statements that he had made concerning his outreach to and contacts with Russian officials during
the course of the campaign. For example, in a radio interview in September 2015, the defendant
suggested that Individual 1 meet with the President of Russia in New York City during his visit
for the United Nations General Assembly. When asked previously about these events, the
defendant claimed his public comments had been spontaneous and had not been discussed within
the campaign or the Company. During his proffer sessions, the defendant admitted that this
account was false and that he had in fact conferred with Individual 1 about contacting the Russian
government before reaching out to gauge Russiaas interest in such a meeting. The meeting
ultimately did not take place.
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Cohenas decision not only to admit to his prior false statements in proffer sessions with
the Government, but to plead guilty to his criminal conduct in open court, demonstrates that Cohen
has taken responsibility for his wrongdoing and is willing to face the consequences. Cohenas
acceptance of responsibility for this offense conduct is a significant mitigating factor given the
circumstances of this case, his prior relationship with Individual 1 and the Company, and the
intense public focus on this investigation.
Assistance with the SCOas Investigation
Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Government agreed to bring to the Courtas attention at
sentencing in this matter and in United States v. Cohen, 18-cr-602 (WHP), the nature and extent
of the defendantas assistance to the SCO.
The defendant has provided, and has committed to continue to provide, relevant and
truthful information to the SCO in an effort to assist with the investigation. The defendant has met
with the SCO for seven proffer sessions, many of them lengthy, and continues to make himself
available to investigators. His statements beginning with the second meeting with the SCO have
been credible, and he has taken care not to overstate his knowledge or the role of others in the
conduct under investigation.
The defendantas assistance has been useful in four significant respects. First, the defendant
provided information about his own contacts with Russian interests during the campaign and
discussions with others in the course of making those contacts. For example, and as described
above, the defendant provided a detailed account of his involvement and the involvement of others
in the Moscow Project, and also corrected the record concerning his outreach to the Russian
government during the week of the United Nations General Assembly. The defendant also
provided information about attempts by other Russian nationals to reach the campaign. For
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example, in or around November 2015, Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke
with, a Russian national who claimed to be a atrusted persona in the Russian Federation who could
offer the campaign apolitical synergya and asynergy on a government level.a The defendant
recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 and the President of
Russia. The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a aphenomenala impact anot only
in political but in a business dimension as well,a referring to the Moscow Project, because there is
ano bigger warranty in any project than consent of [the President of Russia].a Cohen, however,
did not follow up on this invitation.3
Second, Cohen provided the SCO with useful information concerning certain discrete
Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contact
with Company executives during the campaign.
Third, Cohen provided relevant and useful information concerning his contacts with
persons connected to the White House during the 2017a2018 time period.
Fourth, Cohen described the circumstances of preparing and circulating his response to the
congressional inquiries, while continuing to accept responsibility for the false statements contained
The defendantas crime was serious, both in terms of the underlying conduct and its effect
on multiple government investigations. The sentence imposed should reflect the fact that lying to
federal investigators has real consequences, especially where the defendant lied to investigators
about critical facts, in an investigation of national importance.
The defendant explained that he did not pursue the proposed meeting, which did not take
place, in part because he was working on the Moscow Project with a different individual who
Cohen understood to have his own connections to the Russian government.
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However, the defendant has made substantial and significant efforts to remediate his
misconduct, accept responsibility for his actions, and assist the SCOas investigation. Accordingly,
the Government respectfully submits that the Court should give due consideration to the
defendantas efforts set forth above and that it would be appropriate to allow the defendant to serve
any sentence imposed in this case concurrently with any sentence imposed in United States v.
Cohen, 18-cr-602 (WHP).
ROBERT S. MUELLER III
Dated: December 7, 2018
Jeannie S. Rhee
Andrew D. Goldstein
L. Rush Atkinson
U.S. Department of Justice
Special Counselas Office
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 616-0800
Attorneys for the United States of America