One of the less-minor mysteries of yesterday’s twin courtroom bombshells was the absence of a formal plea deal between Cohen and the government. Fortunately we have expert local lawyer David Oscar Markus to explain it to us:
The parties agreed that no variance arguments can be made, up or down. This is a BIG concession by Cohen’s lawyers and is sometimes seen in the SDNY when there is cooperation credit coming. Without the cooperation credit, it’s a terrible deal for Cohen. He’s basically pleading guilty to all of the offenses and not getting anything in return other than the 3 points. If he pleaded straight up, he would at least be able to argue for a sentence under the guidelines. Even with the potential of a cooperation deal, it seems very harsh.
That’s why it’s obvious that Cohen is cooperating, even though it’s not specifically mentioned in the plea agreement. Otherwise, the deal makes no sense. He said as much during his colloquy today and his lawyer, Lanny Davis, has been all over the news saying the same thing.
If he gets cooperation credit, the defense will be asking for a significant reduction below the guidelines — probably all the way to probation.
Okay. Now I get it. Thank you.