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Former Acting Solicitor General: Trump Could Get A Longer Prison Sentence Than Cohen



Donald Trump might be facing more time in prison than Michael Cohen, according to Neal Katyal, who served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States for just over a year starting in 2010. Katyal has commented extensively on the case, speaking on news networks and tweeting his position based on legal experience.

On Wednesday, he expressed that Michael Cohen’s sentence could potentially be a warning sign for Trump, saying that those who carry out criminal acts at the behest of others usually get shorter sentences than their ‘boss.’

Tweeting Wednesday, Katyal referred to Cohen as a ‘subordinate,’ and suggested that the outcome for Trump may depend on whether campaign finance violations are a primary factor in Cohen’s sentencing.

In their filing, federal prosecutors specifically say that Cohen’s crimes were carried out “in coordination with and at the direction of” someone described as “individual 1”.  ‘Individual 1’ is defined as a person who campaigned for and ultimately obtained the Presidency of the United States — in other words, Donald Trump. Katyal’s opinion in his tweet is that, if charged for his role in Cohen’s crimes, Trump could face more time, as the ‘boss’ who directed the criminal activity.

Speaking to MSNBC earlier this week, the attorney and former federal official opined that the reason Trump isn’t already facing charges for “directing the commission of felonies” is because he’s currently still seated as President, and the Department of Justice has already issued opinions that indicting a sitting president would have a negative effect on the nation.

Katyal further weighed in on why he doesn’t believe Trump is protected from prosecution, despite these DOJ opinions. He says three important exceptions exist to this opinion, and those could spell trouble for Trump.

Specifically, Katyal believes that the president could still face charges for crimes committed in pursuit of the presidency, since otherwise a candidate would have an incentive to commit crimes to win, expecting immunity, and that he could face state charges. Alternately, he might be forced to waive statutes of limitations, so that he’d have to face the charges upon leaving office.

Finally, Katyal warns, if Trump can’t face charges while he’s in office, that’s no reason for him to feel safe, since it may mean that there’s more reason for him to face impeachment, after which, of course, he could indeed be indicted.

Trump himself says that he doesn’t believe Cohen’s campaign-related charges were actually criminal, to which Katyal responds by citing the law itself.

It remains to be seen whether, and if so, how, Robert Mueller may move on the information his investigation has received from Michael Cohen, who reportedly cooperated with the investigation before his trial. Cohen’s assertions that Trump was a co-conspirator in the payments that are being called a violation of campaign finance laws, could be the key that connects Trump to the charges, but the ultimate question remains when, if, and how prosecutors will act on that connection.

Donald Trump could face more than three years in prison, says Kayal
Photo Credit: Michael Vadon