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Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen sentenced to 3 years in prison 

A federal judge in New York sentenced President Donald Trump’s former long-time attorney Michael Cohen to 36 months imprisonment on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to several charges earlier this year, according to multiple reports.

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Cohen, 52, pleaded guilty last month to making false statements to Congress last year in connection to a Trump real estate deal in Russia.

>> Michael Cohen pleads guilty to making false statements to Congress

He also pleaded guilty in August to eight charges including multiple counts of tax evasion and a campaign finance charge stemming from so-called “hush money” payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.

>> Cohen pleads guilty to 8 charges, says Trump told him to pay off Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal

Update 12:15 p.m. EST: Cohen will be required to surrender to authorities on March 6 to serve the 36-month sentence handed down Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley III also required Cohen forfeit $500,000 and pay $1.4 million in restitution and $50,000 in fines, the news site reported.

Update 12:05 p.m EST: U.S. District Judge William Pauley III sentenced Cohen to 36 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to eight charges in New York over the summer, Newsday reported.

He was sentenced to two months for lying to Congress. The sentence will run concurrent with the New York sentence.

“Cohen pled guilt to a veritable smorgasbord of fraudulent conduct," Pauley said before handing down the sentence Wednesday, according to CNN

Pauley credited Cohen for his cooperation with Mueller's team, however, he added that as an attorney, "Mr. Cohen should have known better," Newsday reported.

Update 11:50 a.m. EST: Cohen said he takes “full responsibility” for the charges he's pleaded guilty to while addressing the court Wednesday.

“This may seem hard to believe but today is one of the most meaningful days of my life,” he said, according to CNN. “I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen that I deeply admired."

Update 11:45 a.m. EST: Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Nicolas Roos said Wednesday that Cohen's crimes carried a "tremendous societal cost," CNN reported.

“In committing these crimes, Mr. Cohen has eroded faith in the electoral process and compromised the rule of law,” Roos said.

Update 11:35 a.m. EST: Jeannie Rhee, an attorney for special counsel Robert Mueller's team, said in brief comments in court Wednesday that Cohen provided investigators with "credible information" related to the investigation into Russian election meddling, Newsday reported.

"Mr. Cohen has sought to tell us the truth, and that is of utmost value to us," Rhee said.

Update 11:15 a.m. EST: Cohen's attorney, Guy Petrillo, said in court Wednesday that Cohen cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office "knowing that he'd face a barrage of attack by the president," according to the Courthouse News Service.

Petrillo said Cohen “offered evidence against the most powerful person in our country,” CNN reported.

Update 10:55 a.m. EST: Cohen arrived at the federal courthouse in Manhattan early Wednesday ahead of an 11 a.m. sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge William Pauley III.

Original report: Federal prosecutors in New York have asked that Cohen receive a “substantial prison term” of around four years, saying in a court filing last week that he'd failed to fully cooperate with investigators and overstated his helpfulness. Cohen’s attorneys have argued for leniency, arguing that some of Cohen's crimes were motivated by overenthusiasm for Trump, rather than any nefarious intent.

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Feds: Manafort lied to prosecutors, Cohen should get jail time

The president has denied that he had affairs with either McDougal or Daniels, but prosecutors said Cohen orchestrated payments to the women at Trump’s direction. On Monday, the president wrote in a tweet that the payments were “a simple private transaction,” and not a campaign contribution.

Trump said that “even if it was” a campaign contribution, Cohen should be held responsible.

“Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me,” Trump wrote. “Cohen (is) just trying to get his sentenced reduced. WITCH HUNT!”

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Denouncing Cohen, Trump disputes campaign link to payoff of women

A sentence of hard time would leave Cohen with little to show for his decision to plead guilty, though experts told The Associated Press that Wednesday's hearing might not be the last word on his punishment.

Cohen could have his sentence revisited if he strikes a deal with prosecutors in which he provides additional cooperation within a year of his sentence, said Michael J. Stern, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit and Los Angeles.

"Few things spark a defendant's renewed interest in cooperating faster than trading in a pair of custom Italian trousers for an off-the-rack orange jump suit," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

First date turns tragic: Florida woman run over on I-95 after falling off motorcycle

A Florida woman’s first date with a man she met online ended tragically, as her body was found -- run over several times -- on I-95 in Broward County, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Jennifer Amy St. Clair went on a motorcycle ride with her date and two other couples Thursday around 10 p.m., leaving from her Fort Lauderdale home for a bar 30 miles away in downtown Delray Beach, the newspaper reported.

Family members told WSVN that St. Clair, 33, who was riding on the back of a motorcycle with her date, was heading home when fell off the bike on a southbound lane of I-95 in Pompano Beach. It is unclear whether she died on impact from her fall, or whether her death was caused by the three cars that subsequently hit her, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed that three vehicles hit St. Clair’s body but has shared very few details, the newspaper reported.

“Part of the FHP investigation is to interview all of the 911 callers and look for surveillance video,” Lt. Alvaro Feola, an FHO spokesman, told the Sun-Sentinel on Tuesday.

“We are actively asking for the public to please help us find out any information that we can, relative to the terrible events that took place on Thursday night and into Friday morning,” said Todd Falzone, the attorney for St. Clair’s family. “The family has very limited information.”

Family members told WSVN they believe the man St. Clair rode with left the scene and did not stop to help or call 911.

“We know that the gentleman who was driving the motorcycle that night left the scene of the accident, left her out on the roadway on I-95,” Todd Falzone told the television station. “It doesn’t get much worse.”

One of the drivers involved in the crash said he was unable to brake in time and called 911 after he made contact.

“Laying across the road was what looked to be a body, and I couldn’t react in time and I ran it over,” said the driver, who spoke in front of a news camera but didn’t give his name. “I came to a stop as fast as I could.”

The driver said he spoke with a man on a motorcycle near the scene.

“I opened the door, and I asked him, ‘Is that a person laying in the road?’” the driver told WSVN. “He said, ‘Yes. She’s dead.’”

The motorcyclist fled moments later, the driver told the television station.

“As I was waiting, other traffic came along and ran her over again and again, and no one stopped,” the witness told the Sun-Sentinel. “Only three people stopped. And I can’t believe people can run over a body in the road and not stop.”

Falzone told the newspaper that the name of St. Clair’s date has not been confirmed, but he is hoping that witnesses will corroborate his identity.

“We know and we are confident there are many people out in the public who know about this event, who have information about this event, who saw them out there that night, who saw what happened on I-95 that evening,” Falzone told the Sun-Sentinel.

“Unimaginable. We don’t know how anybody could do something like that. That’s the hardest, hardest part,” St. Clair’s aunt, Amy Gamber, told WSVN. “It sounds like my niece was left there. She didn’t deserve that by any means.”

Mother gives rare birth to triplets without C-section

A Texas mother's pregnancy was unique from beginning to end -- not only did she have triplets, but she also delivered them naturally.

>> Read more trending news 

While almost all mothers of triplets undergo a C-section to give birth, Kymber Martinez of Kyle, Texas, gave birth to identical triplet boys without one on Dec. 3. What's more, Martinez was able to deliver the babies in five minutes.

"With the way that they were laying, the size, the way I was carrying them, everything was just set up perfectly to do it," she told KXAN-TV. "There was no reason to do a C-section.”

Dr. Jennifer Goss, Martinez's OB-GYN, said that in her entire career she had never delivered triplets without a C-section before Martinez. The delivery was also the first non-C-section triplet birth at Seton Medical Center Hays.

"The rarity of triplets themselves, and then all of the perfect things that have to line up, you know, this was definitely a wonderful experience," Goss said.

The babies are in the neonatal intensive care unit but are healthy and doing well, according to KVUE-TV.

Kymber Martinez and her husband, Ethan, are now parents of four -- they will be bringing the three boys home to their 6-year-old daughter.

U by Kotex tampons recalled, could unravel inside body, company says

Kimberly-Clark has recalled some of its U by Kotex tampons due to complaints of the product unraveling inside the body.

CBS News reported that the U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, regular absorbency, are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada. Retailers in both countries are pulling the product from shelves.

>> Read more trending news 

“Kimberly-Clark has received reports from consumers of the U by Kotex Sleek Tampons, Regular Absorbency, unraveling and/or coming apart upon removal, and in some cases causing users to seek medical attention to remove tampon pieces left in the body,” the company said in a Dec. 11 news release. “There also have been a small number of reports of infections, vaginal irritation, localized vaginal injury, and other symptoms.”

Kimberly-Clark voluntarily recalled the items for specific lots of the product manufactured before Oct. 16, 2018. Specifically, lots manufactured between Oct. 7, 2016, and Oct. 16, 2018, and distributed between Oct. 17, 2016, and Oct. 23, 2018. The lot number can be found on the bottom of the product package. A full list of recalled lot numbers can be found at the Kimberly-Clark website or searched at the U by Kotex website.

Anyone who has the affected products should stop using them immediately and call Kimberly-Clark consumer service at 1-888-255-3499 between 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. CST Monday through Friday. Customers who have injury or irritation or hot flashes, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain after using the affected products should get medical attention.

No other U by Kotex products are being recalled. 

Police release surveillance video of missing Colorado woman

Police in Colorado released surveillance video of a woman who has been missing since Thanksgiving Day, KDVR reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Kelsey Marie Berreth, 29, a pilot instructor and mother of a 1-year-old girl, has not been heard from in nearly three weeks, the Denver Post reported.

The video, released by Woodland Park police, shows Berreth entering a Safeway store in Woodland Park at 12:27 p.m. Nov. 22. She is shown placing her daughter into a shopping cart, according to the video.

>> ‘She’s not the kind that runs off,’ Berreth’s mother says

Berreth has not been seen since. Police said she later dropped off her daughter with her fiancee, Patrick Frazee. 

Berreth texted her employer, Doss Aviation, on Nov. 25 to say she would not be at work the following week, the Post reported. She also texted Frazee that day. He told police he had not seen Berreth since Thanksgiving, Woodland Park police Chief Miles De Young said. 

>> Search intensifies for missing Colorado woman

According to investigators, Berreth’s cellphone was pinged at 5:13 p.m. Nov. 25 near Gooding, Idaho, KDVR reported. According to a Facebook page set up to track the search, Berreth has family in Idaho and Washington.

‘Hero’ passenger helps woman suffering from seizures on flight to Cincinnati

A woman said a “hero” helped a passenger suffering from seizures Sunday evening on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Cincinnati.

>> Read more trending news 

The woman, Amy Hammond of Mason, Ohio, is questioning why the pilot didn’t land the plane so the woman suffering from seizures could get medical attention, according to WCPO. There was not a doctor on board the flight, Hammond said. 

The woman began having seizures during the flight’s ascent out of Houston shortly after takeoff, according to Hammond. 

A man sitting nearby said he worked for a fire department and began to help the woman, despite initially being scolded for being in the aisle, Hammond told WCPO. She said the good Samaritan, whom she called a hero, helped the woman for more than two hours as the flight continued to Cincinnati.

Hammond posted a video on Facebook showing the man helping the woman. The video has been widely shared on Facebook. 

"She's having seizures. We needed to get her medicine, we needed to get her professional help, and here she was on a plane up in the air, passing out over and over," Hammond told WCPO. "And they should have landed the plane in the beginning." 

Republic Airlines spokesman Jon Austin released the following statement: 

"This weekend, a customer experienced a medical issue aboard Republic Airlines flight 3466 operating as United Express between Houston and Cincinnati. While inflight, the customer received care by our crew with guidance from our on-call medical service as well as from a health care professional on board. The flight landed safely in Cincinnati where the aircraft was met by medical personnel and the passenger was transported to a local hospital."

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle live waxworks seen around Berlin

The newest wax versions of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are odd, to say the least. And for some they could be downright scary.

Live wax figures of the duke and duchess made their debut at the Berlin Madame Tussauds Tuesday a few days after they were seen shopping in Christmas markets, The Evening Standard reported.

The masks are actually made of silicon, despite being called live wax figures, the “Today” show reported.

This isn’t the first time similar masks made by Madame Tussauds were seen. The masks were worn at “Britain’s Got Talent” live final and were seen as the actors walked around London to celebrate the royal couple earlier this year.

>> Read more trending news 

For the holidays, the royal wax couple have been dressed in Christmas sweaters and a baby bump has been added for Meghan, The Evening Standard reported

>>Photos: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle live waxworks go on display

If the masked versions of the Harry and Meghan are too much for you, the iconic wax museum has more traditional versions of the royal couple. 

Trump was implicated in two felonies: What does that mean?

According to court documents filed on Friday by New York prosecutors and the office of special counsel Robert Mueller, President Donald Trump not only knew about hush money being paid to two women whom he allegedly had affairs with but also directed his personal attorney to pay the women for their silence.

The allegations implicating Trump surfaced last week in sentencing recommendations filed in criminal cases against Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney. The filings indicated that Mueller and prosecutors from the Southern District of New York believe that Trump was an accomplice in the payments to the two women, payments that are felony violations of federal election laws.

>>Who is Michael Cohen, personal attorney for Donald Trump?

How can money spent to quiet someone rise to the level of a federal felony? Here’s a look at the two portions of Friday’s filings that implicate Trump in unlawful activity.

What do the filings in the Cohen case say?

Prosecutors are alleging that violations of federal campaign finance law took place when Cohen made payments to silence porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Both women alleged they had extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied their claims.

According to prosecutors:

  • Cohen negotiated an agreement with American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, to pay McDougal $150,000 to keep quiet about an alleged 10-month relationship with Trump. According to the plea, McDougal transferred the rights to her story to the Enquirer which did not publish the story. Cohen paid AMI to compensate the company for payments made to McDougal. 
  • Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels, also over an alleged affair with Trump, was made with funds drawn on a home equity line of credit he took out. The plea said Cohen paid Daniels “by making and causing to be made an expenditure, in cooperation, consultation, and concert with, and at the request and suggestion of one or more members of the campaign (identified as Trump, though not by name) … to ensure that she not publicize damaging allegation before the 2016 presidential election and thereby influence that election." Cohen said during the plea that he “participated in this conduct for the principal purpose” of influencing an election and did it at the “direction of a candidate for federal office.” 

What are the violations?

The crimes include a charge of making a campaign contribution in excess of the $2,700 individual limit set by federal campaign law and unlawful corporate contributions.

The violation of the $2,700 contribution limit came when Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about the alleged affair with Trump. The unlawful corporate contribution charge refers to Cohen’s promise to pay the parent company of the National Enquirer which purchased the rights to McDougal’s story of an affair with Trump but never published it.

How does money paid to keep someone quiet become a campaign contribution?

Under federal campaign finance law, individual campaign contributions are limited to $2,700 per individual, or $5,400 for a couple, for each election cycle.

Federal law bars direct corporate contributions to federal candidates. The money paid to Daniels – $130,000 – was moved through a limited-liability company called Essential Consultants. Cohen created the company a few weeks before the election.

The payment to Daniels was a campaign contribution, according to Cohen, who said in court that when he paid Daniels off, he was acting on behalf of the campaign with the aim of helping Trump win the presidency.

In McDougal’s case, Cohen paid AMI to compensate the company for payments made to McDougal. 

Cohen testified at his August plea hearing  that he orchestrated payments to McDougal and made payments to Daniels weeks before the 2016 presidential election so that the affairs would not become public, and that he did so “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.”

He also said Trump knew about the payments. Both of those payments far exceed the $2,700 limit.

Trump, on the other hand, said the payments were “simple private transactions” not campaign contributions, and that the payments were meant to spare his family embarrassment, not influence an election.

If Trump were to be charged, prosecutors would have to prove that he knew certain campaign finance laws prohibited what he was doing and that he then willfully violated those laws.

Cohen originally said he acted on his own and had not been reimbursed by the Trump Organization, or by the campaign for the payments. He recanted that statement in August, saying he was reimbursed for the payments by Trump who had directed him to make them.

“I used a company under my control to make the payment (to Daniels)” Cohen told the judge, adding that “the monies used were later repaid by the candidate.” 

What does the law say about this case?

What we know is that prosecutors believe Trump directed Cohen to violate campaign finance laws. What we don’t know is if Trump knowingly violated the law.

According to the Federal Election Campaign Act, while individuals are limited to making donations of $2,700 to presidential candidates, candidates can use or loan their personal funds for campaign use. While those contributions are not subject to limits, they must be reported on campaign finance forms filed with the Federal Elections Commission. Companies may not make campaign contributions, and it is a felony to conspire to make a campaign contribution that exceeds $25,000.

What is the statute of limitations for these crimes?

For the violations cited in the filings, there is a five-year statute of limitations.

Will Trump be charged?

Trump will not likely be charged with crimes while he is a sitting president.Legal opinions that have directed Justice Department procedure say a sitting president will not be indicted because criminal charges would undermine the job he or she does.

A president could be charged after he leaves office as long as the statute of limitations on the crimes the person is alleged to have committed have not expired.

Will he be impeached?

Bringing articles of impeachment and impeaching a president are two different things.

The U.S. House drafts articles of impeachment, but the U.S. Senate, with the chief justice of the Supreme Court presiding, holds a trial to examine the charges and votes on whether a president is impeached.

It requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate for impeachment.

It is possible that the House could start impeachment proceedings against Trump. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, has suggested that Trump’s actions, according to what was revealed in the filings, would rise to the level of an impeachable offense.

“Until now, you had two different charges, allegations, whatever you want to call them,” Nadler of New York, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on Saturday. “One was collusion with the Russians. One was obstruction of justice and all that entails. And now you have a third — that the president was at the center of a massive fraud against the American people.”

The House Judiciary Committee would be the committee that would draft impeachment charges against Trump if it came to that.

What does the White House say? 

The White House said Friday's news has nothing to do with them. Trump said “thank you” in a tweet on Friday, saying he had been exonerated concerning campaign finance.

Senator defends '90s boy band booted from Connecticut parking lot

Things got a little hot for 98 Degrees on Tuesday, but a U.S. senator from Connecticut quickly jumped in to cool down the controversy.

>> Read more trending news 

The band -- known for the songs “I Do (Cherish You),” “Because of You” and “What Christmas Means to Me” -- was in Norwalk preparing for a Wednesday concert. Tuesday afternoon, the band’s tour buses were kicked out of a grocery store parking lot in Norwalk, WVIT reported. The buses were there because the hotel the band was staying at -- ironically, named Zero Degrees -- did not have room for the vehicles, the Albany Times-Union reported.

Lauren De Bruijn, who was shopping at the grocery store, told the newspaper that, “The buses look nefarious and the whole thing is so mysterious and weird.”

The buses were finally evicted, but U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy heard about it and tweeted that the treatment of the band was “unacceptable.”

“98 Degrees should be treated like the kings they indisputably are,” Murphy tweeted.

The band responded with a tweet, joking that they were looking for “less nefarious tour buses.”

The group -- brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons -- are playing Wednesday night at the Ridgefield Playhouse. In their tweet, they invited Murphy to the show and for tea in the afternoon backstage.

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