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The "Perversity" of Michael Cohen: Federal Judge Denounces Cohen as a Serial Perjurer

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  vic-eldred  •  4 weeks ago  •  32 comments

By:   JONATHAN TURLEY

The "Perversity" of Michael Cohen: Federal Judge Denounces Cohen as a Serial Perjurer
Michael Cohen was back in court this week and it did not go well. The former fixer for Donald Trump 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 authority. However, things went off the rails when his…

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Michael Cohen was back in court this week and it did not go well. The former fixer for Donald Trump 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 authority. 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 Trump.

If lying were an art form, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen would be its Rembrandt.

Throughout his career, the disbarred lawyer has found powerful clients who 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 Trump.

Cohen has been repeatedly accused of perjury. For example, after Cohen turned on Trump, 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 against Trump soon after his plea agreement with the Justice Department, Cohen was again 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 Trump. However, a number of news organizations reported that Cohen was upset after lobbying for the White House counsel, chief of staff, or other jobs in the administration. Despite a multitude 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 again lied to Congress.

Then Cohen stated, "I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from President Trump." That also directly contradicts multiple sources who 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 stripped 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 spotted 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 Trump 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 again asked "So you lied when you said that you evaded taxes to a judge under oath; is that correct?" He again 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 again and had found powerful allies who valued his curious skill set of being able to say anything at any time to help his patrons.

One judge, however, 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 upholding 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 those 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 those 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 upholding 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 produce a criminal charge. He has found new allies who need his unique ability to support their cause without the burden of accuracy 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-impeaching 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 show 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 yesterday where I incorrectly referenced Judge Pauley rather than Judge Furman. I later deleted the tweet. Cohen however 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 who 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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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    4 weeks ago

The left's star witness.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2  TᵢG    4 weeks ago

He certainly has the proper qualifications to be a long-time attorney for Trump.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  TᵢG @2    4 weeks ago

unlike the serial liar he worked for, he's already done time...

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  devangelical @2.1    4 weeks ago
unlike the serial liar he worked for,

When did he work for Biden?

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
2.2  Ronin2  replied to  TᵢG @2    4 weeks ago

Or a star Democrat witness.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago

Trump has already admitted to paying off Stormy Daniels. He just doesnt think it should be againsst the law.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1  JBB  replied to  JohnRussell @3    4 weeks ago

Trump writing hush money payments to Daniels off on his taxes as attorney fees or as campaign expenses was election and tax fraud!

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.1  Snuffy  replied to  JBB @3.1    4 weeks ago

Yet the SEC and the IRS declined to prosecute. Why is that? Why is the State of New York going after this after both the SEC and the IRS investigated and declined?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.1    4 weeks ago

Clearly it is because Trump has done nothing wrong.   Declining to prosecute is proof of innocence.   256

In general, in our whacky alternate reality of politics, Trump can engage in wrongdoing in front of our eyes and it will be denied.   Witnesses can testify under oath and, if against Trump, they are ignored or deemed liars.   Trump can be held liable as a result of formal trials and the trials are deemed bogus.   

And, of course, any indictment of Trump is deemed to be a witch hunt.    Top it off with speculation that the lack of an indictment by any legal authority implies that Trump is innocent of the non-indicted charges.

I have never seen anything like this in our nation.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.3  Snuffy  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    4 weeks ago

Which does nothing to answer the question I actually asked. The SEC and the IRS/DOJ investigated this matter and declined to prosecute. Why?

In general, in our whacky alternate reality of politics, Trump can engage in wrongdoing in front of our eyes and it will be denied.   Witnesses can testify under oath and, if against Trump, they are ignored or deemed liars.   Trump can be held liable as a result of formal trials and the trials are deemed bogus.   

And, of course, any indictment of Trump is deemed to be a witch hunt.    Top it off with speculation that the lack of an indictment by any legal authority implies that Trump is innocent of the non-indicted charges.

I have never seen anything like this in our nation.

Sure you have. We see it with Joe Biden as well. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.4  TᵢG  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.3    4 weeks ago

I forgot to add ... and any challenge to Trump will be ignored, typically with a deflection to Biden.

Which does nothing to answer the question I actually asked. The SEC and the IRS/DOJ investigated this matter and declined to prosecute. Why?

I do not know.   I am not, however, going to presume that this means Trump is innocent (or guilty).

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3.1.5  JohnRussell  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    4 weeks ago
I have never seen anything like this in our nation.

It takes a lot of continuous effort to defend the indefensible

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.6  Snuffy  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.4    4 weeks ago

But you forgot to add any answer to the question I asked. But hey, nice deflection when I did reply to your last sentence.

I have never seen anything like this in our nation.
Sure you have. We see it with Joe Biden as well. 

We see the deflection to Trump anytime anything is brought up about Biden. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
3.1.7  Greg Jones  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    4 weeks ago
"I have never seen anything like this in our nation."

Haven't you been watching the desperate and comical defense of Hunter and Joe Biden by deranged leftists during the impeachment hearings?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.8  TᵢG  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.6    4 weeks ago

I did answer, you must have missed the edit.   I added it very soon after posting.

You asked a question that obviously none of us can answer.   You know we cannot answer it — none of us are privy to the closed door meetings behind such decisions.   It is likely that they did not consider the case of sufficient priority for their time.   Maybe they did not think they had a strong enough case.   There are many possible reasons.   

You obviously asked your question to imply that Trump is innocent.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
3.1.9  evilone  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.1    4 weeks ago
Yet the SEC and the IRS declined to prosecute. Why is that? Why is the State of New York going after this after both the SEC and the IRS investigated and declined?

As TiG replied, we don't know the IRS or SEC declined to investigate. What we do know is that NY isn't going to prosecute under election or tax law. They are going to prosecute under State fraud law by saying it was an act of criminal fraud to hide the payment to Daniels in the accounting. 

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
3.1.10  Ronin2  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    4 weeks ago
Declining to prosecute is proof of innocence.    256

Tell that to Brandon and Hillary Clinton and their sycophants that still claim they did nothing wrong though both illegally retained and misused classified documents. Clinton even went a step further by destroying classified materials and evidence.

In fact your entire post could be about Brandon, Hunter, and the Clintons.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.11  TᵢG  replied to  Ronin2 @3.1.10    4 weeks ago

Partisan deflection ... every single time.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.12  Snuffy  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.8    4 weeks ago

Ok, yeah. That edit came up after I started typing in my reply so it was not there initially.  But your answer is not really sufficient to me. The SEC and the IRS both investigated the matter and declined to prosecute. So why is the State of New York now prosecuting? It looks more like a political decision than a legal decision in this case. I asked the question not because I think Trump may be innocent but that this looks more like a political decision to prosecute rather than anything else. 

Part of the reason why it looks like a political decision was that after the SEC investigated it was explained that even if they prosecuted it would be more a slap on the wrist for the campaign. The New York case however is being prosecuted as a felony which could result in prison time (although it's been stated the possibility of prison time with a guilty verdict is low). Hell, there's even tape of Alvin Bragg talking about this case when he was campaigning for the position of DA.

Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg saw case against Trump as potentially "charge ready" years ago - CBS News

If that was one of his campaign tactics, this only adds to the image that this is more political than legal. 

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.13  Snuffy  replied to  evilone @3.1.9    4 weeks ago
As TiG replied, we don't know the IRS or SEC declined to investigate.

They didn't decline to investigate, they declined to prosecute. Big difference. 

Add to this see the link in 3.1.12. It's a CBS news article where Bragg, while campaigning, was talking about this case and about Trump. Talking about holding Trump accountable is good for a politician in New York. A lot of New Yorkers don't care much for Trump so it's reasonable to think that such a stance would help in one's election.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.14  TᵢG  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.12    4 weeks ago
But your answer is not really sufficient to me.

Again, you asked a question to the wrong audience.   Nobody on this site can do anything other than speculate.   You know that, yet you continue.

So why is the State of New York now prosecuting? 

This too is not a question anyone on this forum can answer with authority.   We can speculate that it is purely political or that there is a legitimate case or many other variations.   The question is above all of our pay grades.   Why ask it other than to imply foul play?

It looks more like a political decision than a legal decision in this case. 

I have noticed that one's assumptions are highly affected by beliefs.   That is never good.   Assumption should be based on evidence and, if possible, considered objectively.   Very difficult to do, but it helps reduce the likelihood of drawing wrong assumptions.

The bottom line is this.   If this is merely a political act, then the case has no merit.   Our system of jurisprudence is imperfect, but it most definitely is biased towards truth.   Thus it is likely that a case with no merit will be thrown out or, if tried, will result in a not guilty verdict.

At this point, we know that Trump paid hush money to Daniels through Cohen.   The trial will almost certainly determine this to be truth.   The question then is if the circumstances of this hush money translate into a criminal act by Trump.   The jury will decide that.   

The legal trial will present more evidence than we will ever see.   And certainly much more than what we currently have.   It will involve professional legal arguments from both sides presided over by a professional judge sworn to follow the law and the processes of jurisprudence and subject to appeal (etc.) if not.   It is thus more likely than not that the approximate truth will be determined, the legal implications will be resolved, and a just verdict will be delivered.

Speculating that this is merely a political act accomplishes nothing.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.15  Snuffy  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.14    4 weeks ago

Speculate.  Kind of like your repeated pushing of other people on if they agreed that Trump did wrongdoing in all these acts. That's all we do on this board, speculate back and forth. Offer up our opinions. 

But I didn't speculate that this hush-money case was just a political act. I said it looks more like a political than a legal decision, but that statement does not indicate 100% one way or the other. That's another thing that people tend to do here, is play word games. 

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
3.1.16  evilone  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.13    4 weeks ago
They didn't decline to investigate, they declined to prosecute. Big difference. 

A metaphorical slip of the keyboard. I'm at work...

...a CBS news article where Bragg, while campaigning, was talking about this case and about Trump. Talking about holding Trump accountable is good for a politician in New York.

I'm not going to deny any of Trump's cases aren't, at least in part, political. What I fail to see is  where that is relevant if Trump's actions weren't illegal. And if Bragg doesn't have all his ducks in a row he'll end up like Fanni Willis. If Trump doesn't have all his ducks in a row he'll get his too.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
3.1.17  Snuffy  replied to  evilone @3.1.16    4 weeks ago
I'm not going to deny any of Trump's cases aren't, at least in part, political. What I fail to see is  where that is relevant if Trump's actions weren't illegal. And if Bragg doesn't have all his ducks in a row he'll end up like Fanni Willis. If Trump doesn't have all his ducks in a row he'll get his too.

We shall see where it goes. All I caution is not to get too caught up in the initial court trial as any guilty verdict will undoubtedly be appealed. I don't doubt that it will be difficult for Trump to get a not guilty verdict as the majority of people in New York do not hold Trump in a favorable light. The relevant part IMO comes where the FEC/DOJ did investigate and declined to prosecute but the DA with a history of going after Trump and who used this case in his campaigning did decide to prosecute. 

Like I said, we'll have to wait for it all to play out to see the outcome.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.18  TᵢG  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.15    4 weeks ago

Don't make things personal (yet again) with unqualified allegations.

Asking a personal opinion in the context of denying the obvious is very different from asking people why a federal or state legal authority made a particular decision.

We can all offer opinions, but none of us can answer questions involving decisions made by other bodies based on facts that we do not have access to.

That's another thing that people tend to do here, is play word games. 

More obnoxious and pointless allegations.

I have engaged you thoughtfully and here you go again starting trouble.

I said it looks more like a political than a legal decision, but that statement does not indicate 100% one way or the other.

Where does 100% come from?   You clearly are trying to suggest that this is driven politically more so than legally.   My comment is that we do not and likely will not know the details.   So we cannot know why the federal and state legal authorities made their decision.

You ask questions that we cannot answer.

Your questions are clearly (obviously) implying that this is politically driven.

Fine.   That is your (expected) opinion.   So now we have to wait for the legal process to conclude.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
3.1.19  evilone  replied to  Snuffy @3.1.17    4 weeks ago
All I caution is not to get too caught up in the initial court trial as any guilty verdict will undoubtedly be appealed.

That's what I keep telling many people here about all kinds of legal articles. Wait for it all to play out... 

The relevant part IMO comes where the FEC/DOJ did investigate and declined to prosecute but the DA with a history of going after Trump and who used this case in his campaigning did decide to prosecute. 

For all we know the FEC/DOJ decided not to prosecute for their own political reasons. There's nothing to infer from it one way or the other. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.1.20  TᵢG  replied to  evilone @3.1.19    4 weeks ago
For all we know the FEC/DOJ decided not to prosecute for their own political reasons.

Exactly, there is no way of knowing.

This case certainly looks legit.   It is one thing if a case looks bogus (on the outside).   But when we know that Trump gave Daniels hush money that suggests this case might indeed have merit.   If Trump broke the law, it is proper to prosecute.

Trump's big mouth and his history of actions has put him front and center of most everything.   He is on the radar.   Thus it is not surprising at all if wrongdoing by Trump emerges as legal actions.

On the flipside, we see all sorts of bending by the legal authorities to accommodate Trump (even the SCotUS).   So while Trump's position exposes him to lawsuits, it also gives him benefits that the ordinary citizen would not enjoy.

If Trump committed a crime, I think it is likely he will be found guilty.   If not, I think it is more likely than not that he will be acquitted.   Our system has its problems (and the legal process is affected by politics) but generally I think we get it right more often than not.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
3.1.21  evilone  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.20    4 weeks ago
This case certainly looks legit.   It is one thing if a case looks bogus (on the outside).   But when we know that Trump gave Daniels hush money that suggests this case might indeed have merit.   If Trump broke the law, it is proper to prosecute.

Cohen already was convicted and Trump already admitted to it. It will be an interesting trial if they ever get it off the ground. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
3.2  TᵢG  replied to  JohnRussell @3    4 weeks ago
Trump has already admitted to paying off Stormy Daniels. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
3.3  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JohnRussell @3    4 weeks ago
Trump has already admitted to paying off Stormy Daniels.

I'm sure it was just a paperless loan................/S

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4  JBB    4 weeks ago

Yes, Cohen perjured himself for Trump and went to prison for Trump and ruined his reputation for Trump. MAGA - Making Attorneys Get Attorneys. So it goes for anyone associated with Donald Trump...

 
 
 
Hallux
PhD Principal
5  Hallux    4 weeks ago

Sounds like Turley got lost looking for something to scribble for his fans ... Turley is a perverse whore.

 
 

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