A federal judge ordered today that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen be released from jail.
Cohen was released on home arrest in May by arguing that he might contract Covid19 while in jail. Earlier this month he was ordered back to jail for refusing conditions of his home confinement. Specifically he was ordered not to engage with the media while serving his sentence or to engage in activity on social media.
While out of prison Cohen could be seen dining with others at outdoor New York restaurants. He is also writing a book about President Trump which is scheduled to be released shortly before November’s election.
Cohen was serving a three-year sentence in a federal detention center after pleading guilty to numerous charges of tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations.
Today a federal judge, Judge Alvin Kenneth Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York, said the conditions of his home confinement violated Cohen’s Constitutional rights.
“The purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory, and it’s retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights,” Hellerstein said today. “I cannot believe fairly that there was not a purpose to stop exercise of First Amendment rights.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss disputed that assessment however. “The evidence…shows [Cohen], who had been released from prison on furlough, was remanded into custody on July 9, 2020, because he was antagonistic during a meeting with probation officers at which he was supposed to sign the agreement that would have allowed him to complete the remaining portion of his criminal sentence in home confinement.”
Cohen’s probation officer Adam Pakula said he was unaware that Cohen was writing a book. “While I was aware that Cohen was a high-profile inmate, at the time I drafted the [Federal Location Monitoring] Agreement, I was not aware that Cohen was writing a book,” he said.