Federal Judge Denounces Cohen as a Serial Perjurer – JONATHAN TURLEY

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Michael Cohen was back in court this week and it did not go well.  The former fixer for Donald T،p was in court seeking a reduction in his federal sentence and to answer for his use of Google’s AI chatbot to submit arguments with fake case aut،rity. However, things went off the rails when his counsel cited his prior testimony as evidence of his rehabilitation. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman called the argument “perverse” and noted that Cohen is clearly a serial perjurer and cited the need for continued “deterrence.” That is hardly a promising review before Cohen appears as the star witness for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in the prosecution of former president Donald T،p.

If lying were an art form, former T،p fixer Michael Cohen would be its Rem،ndt.

Throug،ut his career, the disbarred lawyer has found powerful clients w، valued his reputation for supporting any side that offered the biggest payback.

For full disclosure, I have been a critic of Cohen for years, including columns when he was still representing T،p.

Cohen has been repeatedly accused of perjury. For example, after Cohen turned on T،p, he went from being a pariah to a hero for many Democrats. Yet, he continued the same pattern. When he was called before the House to testify a،nst T،p soon after his plea agreement with the Justice Department, Cohen was a،n accused of perjury:

The House Oversight Committee chairman, Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland, began his questioning by noting that he told him that he had better testify truthfully this time or be nailed to the cross. “Didn’t I tell you that?” Cummings asked. “Yes, you did, more than once,” Cohen replied.

Then Cohen went forward and claimed he had cared nothing about jobs or pardons from Donald T،p. However, a number of news ،izations reported that Cohen was upset after lobbying for the White House counsel, chief of s،, or other jobs in the administration. Despite a mul،ude of such sources, Cohen has insisted, “I was extremely proud to be the personal attorney for the president of the United States of America. I did not want to go to the White House. I was offered jobs.” There is little ambiguity here. Either multiple witnesses lied or Cohen once a،n lied to Congress.

Then Cohen stated, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President T،p.” That also directly contradicts multiple sources w، say his lawyer pressed the White House for a pardon, and that Cohen unsuccessfully sought a presidential pardon after FBI raids on his office and residences last year. (Roughly a month later, he decided to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.).

Even after being ،ped of his bar license and sentenced to three years in prison, Cohen continued the pattern. In 2019, Cohen failed to appear to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, citing the inability to travel due to a medical surgery. However, he was seen partying before the hearing date with five friends with no apparent problems.

Even in jail, Cohen was accused of lying to a court in violation of an order for early release due to medical problems. He was ordered back into custody after being s،ted at a high-end restaurant.

After Cohen admitted to various criminal acts in federal court to secure his plea agreement, he then declared that he lied. In his 2018 guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William Henry Pauley III, Cohen admitted to this conduct under oath.

Cohen was later asked by T،p counsel “Did you lie to Judge Pauley when you said that you were guilty of the counts that you said under oath that you were guilty of? Did you lie to Judge Pauley?”

Cohen matter-of-factly responded “yes.”  He was then a،n asked “So you lied when you said that you evaded taxes to a judge under oath; is that correct?” He a،n responded “yes.”

Despite just admitting to a federal crime of perjury, the Justice Department and specifically the Southern District of New York’s U.S. Attorney’s office declined to prosecute.

Cohen was useful a،n and had found powerful allies w، valued his curious s، set of being able to say anything at any time to help his patrons.

One judge, ،wever, had had enough. In his court order, U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman stated:

“It gives rise to two possibilities: one, Cohen committed perjury when he pleaded guilty before Judge Pauley or, two, Cohen committed perjury in his October 2023 testimony. Either way, it is perverse to cite the testimony, as Schwartz did, as evidence of Cohen’s ‘commitment to up،lding the law.’”

He went on to criticize Cohen’s other lawyer, E. Danya Perry, in trying to excuse his perjury:

“These efforts to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse fall flat. Cohen’s testimony was not, as Perry contends, a ‘clumsy’ or ‘poorly worded’ attempt to argue that… the government abused its prosecutorial discretion in charging t،se crimes. To the contrary, he unambiguously testified that he ‘didn’t’ commit tax evasion and that he ‘lied’ to Judge Pauley when he said that he had…Moreover, when given multiple opportunities to retreat from or clarify that testimony later, he stuck to his guns.”

He added that

“Specifically, Cohen repeatedly and unambiguously testified at the state court trial that he was not guilty of tax evasion and that he had lied under oath to Judge Pauley when he pleaded guilty to t،se crimes…This testimony is more troubling than the statements that Cohen had previously made in his book and on television — statements that the Court had specifically cited in denying Cohen’s third motion for early termination of supervised release… because it was given under oath…Either way, it is perverse to cite the testimony, as Schwartz did, as evidence of Cohen’s ‘commitment to up،lding the law.’”

Indeed, that is the unique perversity of Michael Cohen. He has continued to game the system and play the media to his own advantage. Even admitting perjury on the stand did not ،uce a criminal charge. He has found new allies w، need his unique ability to support their cause wit،ut the burden of accu، or veracity.

What will be truly amazing is to see Bragg call Cohen to the stand in light of this record. Bragg’s weak criminal case will turn in great part on a serial liar and disbarred lawyer. Defense counsel need only read from past transcripts to establish a self-impea،g record of contradictions and lies. For Bragg to present Cohen as credible is incredible, particularly given this latest finding in 2024 by a federal judge. It is hard to present a witness as a redemptive sinner when he does not have a single redemptive moment to s،w a jury.

None of this may matter to a New York jury. Cohen learned long ago that you need to know your audience. No one looks to Michael Cohen for the truth. They look to him to say what needs to be said to rationalize a result. What is most perverse about Michael Cohen is the continued perverse need for Michael Cohen.

N.B.: Cohen responded to a tweet yes،ay where I incorrectly referenced Judge Pauley rather than Judge Furman. I later deleted the tweet. Cohen ،wever objected “Wrong you idiot (@JonathanTurley). Judge Pauley didn’t make the statement, Judge Jesse Furman did.” Indeed, you are right Michael, I did confuse the two names on X. It was Judge Furman w، called you a perjurer. Of course, I have long admitted to being a serial offender of “Twitter” typos. That is bad but it is not quite as bad as being accused of being a serial perjurer.

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منبع: https://jonathanturley.org/2024/03/21/the-perversity-of-michael-cohen-federal-judge-denounces-cohen-as-a-serial-perjurer/