But first, Michael Cohen can ask for leniency.
Trump and Cohen have been separated since Cohen hired Trump in court, claiming he had made payments "in a coordinated manner and under the direction of a candidate for federal office."
The conviction of Cohen will certainly result in a new review of his offenses – and their relationship with Trump – and may provide new details from them. And as for all the penalties, his fate will depend mainly on the perspective of the federal judge – in this case, a famous disciplinary, according to the lawyers who appeared before him.
This week, Cohen's lawyer has to file court documents that will probably explain why he deserves a less severe sentence.
But if none of this brings Cohen back to a cooperation agreement with the federal government – a step that, among other things, would almost certainly delay the determination of his sentence – he will be expected in court.
The prescribed range of Mr. Cohen's jail sentence is between 46 and 63 months, according to his plea agreement, which also sets a range of fines ranging from $ 20,000 to $ 1 million. However, the judge may deviate from the guidelines when it determines Cohen's sentence, which will also take into account the files of both parties that must be filed in court within the next two weeks. The filing of federal prosecutors is expected next week.
Judge known for long sentences for white-collar offenders
If Cohen wants clemency, he may be out of luck with US District Judge William Pauley III, according to lawyers who have had cases before him.
"He has a very formal approach and it's not someone who takes things lightly," said Harry Sandick, former federal prosecutor at the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan, who has previously appeared before Pauley. generally in accordance with the directives. "
Pauley refused to comment on this story. Guy Petrillo, Cohen's lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment.
Pauley's strict approach to the audience room has taken various forms. Sam Waksal, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical sector, who pleaded guilty in a case of insider trading that also captivated Martha Stewart, is one of the most prominent defendants among the defendants at the time. white-collar workers who appeared in front of Pauley's lawyer. guidelines.
In 2003, Pauley sentenced Waksal to a term of imprisonment of more than seven years. In that case, Waksal's lawyer had argued for leniency by noting that the accused's work had been serving patients with cancer. Pauley rejected it. "The harm you have done is really incalculable," he told Waksal.
In the case of Bill Burck, the criminal defense lawyer whose clients include former White House lawyer Don McGahn, in the investigation led by the special advocate, it was a surprising encounter with the judge when the judge was a 31-year-old federal prosecutor appearing before him. New York, according to someone familiar with the episode.
After Burck went to court using her first name and last name, Pauley called him at a side conference and told him, "The government is terribly informal." When Burck responded with confusion, Pauley told him, "You're calling William, not Bill, and in this audience hall, William will let you know."
Arriving at a comment, Burck confirmed the incident by adding, "Following this, I have always officially called myself William."
Cohen could receive a harsher sentence because he's a lawyer
In the case of Cohen, one of the factors likely to have a negative impact on the judge's opinion of his crimes, said those who appeared before Pauley, is that Cohen himself is a lawyer.
"I think Judge Pauley will consider him a smart person who has a lot of money, he has not been sentenced to crime by his way of being high," said Elie Honig, former Federal Attorney and CNN Legal Analyst. case before Pauley, "and I think Judge Pauley will be particularly disturbed by the fact that Michael Cohen has committed these crimes … at least some of them, as a lawyer."
Indeed, the line of conduct in Cohen's Advocacy Agreement already contains what is called an improvement, or an additional sentence, because it "used a particular skill – namely his education, training and pleasure as a lawyer in the state of New York – in a way that greatly facilitated the commission and concealment of the offense. "
Pauley can talk about it in court and consider it as she sees fit. "In some of his sentences, he's particularly concerned about people who are able to comply with the law and who do not," Sandick said. .
Another factor that is sometimes given significant weight is deterrence. Judges consider what is called specific deterrence – if the sentence incites the accused himself to avoid the act in the future – as well as general deterrence – if the sentence will deter other people to commit similar crimes.
According to former prosecutors, Pauley is adamant as to the ability of a severe sentence to deter similar behavior.
"Judge Pauley is a powerful deterrent," said Honig. "He believes that every sentence he utters must punish the person in front of him, but also send a message to others."
In Cohen's case, the judge must determine what sentence will be used to deter not only potential violators of campaign finance laws, but also those who are tempted to commit tax evasion or lie to a bank.
Finally, a judge will often determine whether an accused has demonstrated an appropriate level of remorse for his or her behavior. Pauley is not known to pay much attention to this item, according to the people who appeared before him, but this will likely happen in the files that Cohen's attorneys and attorney have to file, particularly in to the extent that Cohen's plea agreement contains a provision. that he will benefit from a reduction of sentence "assuming that the defendant clearly demonstrates the acceptance of his responsibility, to the satisfaction of the Government".