Michael Cohen arrives at prison as Trump executive calls him ‘a bluffer, not a fixer’ in scathing attack

Chris Stevenson, Chris Riotta

Michael Cohen has arrived at a US prison to serve a three-year sentence over tax crimes, as well as lies and payoffs he made throughout the 2016 election to protect Donald Trump.

The president’s former personal attorney delivered a statement to press Monday morning before making his way to prison, telling reporters, “There still remains much to be told and I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.”

“I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country,” he said, reading from prepared remarks.

The prepared statement was similar to remarks he gave during his sentencing for violating campaign finance laws and lying to Congress over the status of a Trump construction project in Moscow. Cohen said at the hearing late last year that he would provide as much information as possible to prosecutors about his dealings with the president.

"My weakness can be characterised as a blind loyalty to Donald Trump," Mr Cohen said at the time. "I was weak for not having the strength to question and to refuse his demands. I have already spent years living a personal and mental incarceration."

Meanwhile, a member of the Trump Organisation’s executive team has issued a rare public rebuke of Cohen, describing the president’s former attorney as “a bluffer, not a fixer.”

“Michael Cohen was my friend,” George Sorial, an executive vice president and counsel at the president’s private business, wrote in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed published Monday. “I knew his family and he knew mine. But for him to suggest before Congress in February that he was the Trump Organisation’s top lawyer and deal maker is surreal. He was neither.”

Cohen had previously claimed he would "take a bullet" for the president before turning on him and pleading guilty in a bank fraud and tax evasion case that grew out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and that was handled by federal prosecutors in New York.

The attorney orchestrated payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal to avert a scandal shortly before the 2016 election. Both women had alleged affairs with the president.

Cohen also told the court that Mr Trump - who has denied sexual relationships with the two women - ordered a $130,000 (£99,284) payment to Ms Daniels and a $150,000 (£114,559) payment to Ms McDougal to keep them quiet.

Mr Trump has denied directing Cohen to do anything illegal and Cohen is the only person charged and convicted so far in relation to the payments.

Cohen's legal team had asked Democrats in the House of Representatives to see what they could do about getting his sentence reduced following his testimony last month. However, they were reluctant to step in. The federal prosecutors in New York were also said to be no help, according to the Associated Press.