Michael Cohen is going to jail. That is my prediction. I have based it on what happened in the El Paso public corruption scandals that led to the prosecution, guilty pleas and convictions of about 40 elected officials and well-known people. Some of you will likely argue that Cohen has not been charged with a crime. That is true, but it does not negate what comes next because it all comes down to a bureaucracy that does not allow for failure.
The bureaucracy are the prosecuting teams of the justice department and the FBI. The FBI will not publicly go after a target until it knows that likely the target will end up being prosecuted. Too much money and public prestige is on the line to fail to prosecute the target.
Michael Cohen was publicly targeted by the FBI and his records were seized. This did not happen overnight. The seizure of the records was planned well in advance and enough evidence to indicate that a crime was likely committed was put in front of the prosecutors and the judge that issued the search warrant.
Those of you that followed the public corruption scandals in El Paso might remember that it all started with raids on Bob Jones, the local school district and the county offices. From there, over 40 people were implicated for various crimes. But, there was also the people that were not publicly exposed until the prosecutors had everything ready to prosecute the people they had targeted.
For example, former county judge Dolores Briones was not publicly mentioned until she quietly pleaded guilty to public corruption charges. Although some assumed that Briones was protected by her brother, a federal judge, the fact remains that Briones wore a wire and recorded conversations between herself and people involved in the LKG fiasco that also ended in corruption charges. You also might remember how Larry Medina famously told the news media that he had no idea why he had been summoned to the FBI headquarters for fingerprints, alluding to being innocent of any crimes. Medina pleaded guilty to corruption and served time in a federal prison.
Although in El Paso, the initial investigations centered on the County’s bidding processed that ensnared Luther Jones and the LKG owners, the paperwork discovered, and the pressure of the very visible public corruption investigations led the FBI directly to Anthony Cobos and others that were not part of the original investigations of Bob Jones, Luther Jones and LKG.
Cohen’s legal papers are now in the hands of the FBI and although much is being argued about the propriety of the raid on the legal papers, the fact remains that the FBI is too invested in the publicity that it is unlikely that Michael Cohen isn’t in serious legal jeopardy, with or without his legal documents.
Hence, Michael Cohen will likely see the inside of a jail cell.
The documents themselves and the ensuing media frenzy will also lead to others that will become snarled in the legal clutches of the FBI.
Although some of the pundits are arguing that Donald Trump will pardon Michael Cohen, in the end it won’t keep Cohen out of jail, at least for one day. When the FBI files charges, it will unceremoniously pickup Cohen and take him to jail to be processed. But, what is most interesting is that Trump’s pardon power is limited to federal crimes.
This is where I believe a strategy was devised between federal prosecutors and the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller. Although I will unlikely never be able to prove it, this is what I believe was arranged. First, there is much speculation about whether Donald Trump will fire Mueller. Regardless of whether Trump has the authority to, or not, is immaterial because while the authority is litigated, Mueller is effectively out.
However, the prosecutors prosecuting Michael Cohen cannot be fired by Donald Trump. Their investigation will continue regardless of what Trump does with Mueller. And, even ff Trump were to issue pardons, they would only cover federal crimes and not state crimes which are prosecuted and punished by each state.
Therein lies what I believe is the unspoken and unprovable strategy, to keep open the possibility of prosecutions regardless of what Donald Trump does with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or if he were to issue pardons to Cohen and others embroiled in the two ongoing investigations.
In the end, Michael Cohen will see the inside of jail cell soon.