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Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen seeks reduction in U.S. prison term

FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's former lawyer, leaves his apartment to report to prison in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for Donald Trump who became a key witness against the president for House Democrats, is seeking a reduction in his current three-year prison sentence, an attorney for Cohen said on Wednesday.

Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis said that Cohen had filed a court motion seeking a reduction in his sentence as credit for his cooperation with investigators looking into various issues related to Trump.

Cohen, who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, was jailed for arranging payments to pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. Cohen said that Trump directed the payments.

“We question whether Attorney General [William] Barr, who thinks his role is to act as President Trump’s personal attorney rather than the attorney for the American people, has interfered and influenced the decision not to credit Mr. Cohen for all his cooperation in bringing the facts out publicly about Mr. Trump’s wrongdoing,” Davis said in an email to Reuters.

“We also respectfully ask the court to consider the fairness of what appears to be unjust targeting and selective prosecution of only Mr. Cohen, who took responsibility while all others in the Trump Organization, including Mr. Trump himself, have thus far escaped all accountability,” Davis added.

He said that the deadline for Cohen to request a reduction in his current sentence was Thursday, one year from when his sentence was imposed.

Davis said that Cohen was not seeking a specific reduction in his sentence, but rather that he and his lawyers were leaving that “to the discretion and fairness” of a federal judge.

Cohen is serving his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institute in Otisville, New York, about 70 miles (113 km)northwest of New York City.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Cynthia Osterman