Yes, Michael Cohen is still going to prison for a long time

Michael Cohen has parted ways with his attorneys and he’s in the process of cutting a plea deal against Donald Trump, according to ABC News. Cohen is making this move partly because federal prosecutors had just informed him that he was about to be arrested, according to MSNBC. Here’s the part that’s getting overlooked: even with a deal, Cohen is still going to prison for a long time.

Cohen’s impending arrest may have been a wake up call that prompted him to realize there’s no way out of this for him, but his deal doesn’t get him off the hook from being arrested. In fact he’ll have to surrender himself for arrest, and he’ll agree to plead guilty to one or more charges. He won’t be sentenced to prison immediately, because his sentence will be based on how cooperative and effective he ends up being as a witness. But there will be a sentence, and not a particularly short one.

If you’re looking for a guidepost, most legal observers who have reviewed the Michael Flynn and Rick Gates plea deals are expecting them each to serve perhaps four to six years in prison. Michael Cohen is in a similar boat, based on how knee-deep he is in Donald Trump’s criminal scandals. So he can expect to go to prison for several years. He’s cutting a plea deal because he doesn’t want to risk going to prison for several decades.

Michael Cohen won’t be sent to prison until he’s no longer needed as a witness against Donald Trump, which could be quite awhile from now. But the bottom line is that his plea deal will land him a multi-year prison sentence. We tend to forget that Flynn and Gates are headed to prison, simply because they haven’t yet been sentenced. But make no mistake: we’re entering the prison phase of Donald Trump’s scandals.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report