Judge Frees Michael Cohen, Says He Was Treated Unfairly

Trump's former attorney must be released by Friday afternoon
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2020 11:22 AM CDT
Judge Cites Retaliation, Frees Michael Cohen Again
A May 21 photo of Michael Cohen as he arrives at his Manhattan apartment after being furloughed from prison.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Michael Cohen is getting out of prison early—again. A federal judge ordered President Trump's former attorney released by 2pm Friday and accused the government of retaliating against him, reports CNBC. Cohen had been furloughed in May over concerns about the coronavirus and ordered to serve out his sentence at his Manhattan residence. But he was abruptly sent back to prison on July 10 after refusing to sign a gag order prohibiting him from writing a book about Trump. On Thursday, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that the Bureau of Prisons treated Cohen unfairly with that decision, calling it retaliation against Cohen for planning an anti-Trump book before the election, per the AP.

“I make the finding that 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 to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others,” Hellerstein said, per the Washington Post, which describes the overall ruling as "scathing." Cohen, 53, is more than one year into a three-year sentence for crimes including lying to Congress and campaign finance violations. (More Michael Cohen stories.)

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