Preet Bharara on Cohen: ‘The Southern District Is Pretty Ruthless on This Question of Making Sure You Have Given Up All the Goods on Everyone You Can’

‘If not, you don’t get the benefit of cooperation’


BHARARA: "We should get a whiteboard up. It’s getting very complicated. What Evan said a minute ago is incredibly important and actually gives some content to this question, or the answer to the question. The way the Southern Districts operates, not every prosecutor’s office is this way and this is how it has operated before I got there and when I was there and still now. If you really want to have the benefit of cooperation with respect to a recommendation from the prosecutors to the judge — imposing the ultimate sentence, it is not enough to tell them some things. It is not enough to tell them about even all of your own criminal conduct. You have to tell them about the criminal conduct of everyone else that you’re aware of, you’re associated with and you have information on. So sometimes what happens is, you want to give up the goods as for yourself and as to maybe some of your associates but not about your family or not about your boss or not about someone else. Or you minimize in some way. The Southern District is pretty ruthless on this question of making sure you have given up all the goods on everyone you can, that you have confessed all your sins, and if not, that you don’t get the benefit of cooperation. And that looks like what happened here. And they were disappointed not necessarily in the things that he was truthful about, but that he was minimizing other areas, and his cooperation was overstated, which is why I wanted to know the comparison between what Cohen’s lawyer said and what the prosecutors thought, and clearly they thought it was not as helpful."

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