Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, told a judge on Friday he is the victim of a campaign of “character assassination” by prosecutors who oppose his time in prison being reduced from three years to one.

In a court document filed in Manhattan federal court, Cohen said federal prosecutors were “using innuendo, conjecture, and inaccurate opinions as a basis for urging the court’s denial of the pending motion”.

He added in his letter to US district judge William H Pauley III that the “continued ‘character assassination”’ by prosecutors is not relevant to his request to be released from prison after serving a year and one day.

The US attorney’s office in Manhattan “stubbornly refuses” to acknowledge the breadth, scope and relevance of more than 170 hours of testimony he gave to nine government agencies, he said.

Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for prosecutors, said the office had no comment.

Cohen, 53, is housed at a federal prison in Otisville, New York, after pleading guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and lying to Congress among other charges. He began his sentence last May.

Cohen maintains he deserves early release for telling investigators about the president’s misdeeds.

In court papers of their own, prosecutors say Cohen has offered no evidence he provided substantial assistance of the kind that warrants a significant reduction in sentence. And they say congressional testimony does not earn a reduction either.

Cohen abandoned longtime position of loyalty to Trump and met with federal and state prosecutors in New York and with the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, telling them he had lied to Congress to protect Trump.

Cohen said he feels targeted by the president, who wants to depict him as a convicted liar, and by Republican members of the House oversight committee.

He recalled that Trump frequently asked what role he wanted in his administration before he was offered a job as assistant to the White House counsel. Cohen said he “truly wanted” the position he received.

“There was no perceived shame to being President Donald J Trump’s ‘personal attorney’”, he said, especially for a man who protected Trump and his family’s interests for a decade.


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