Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Is Back In Federal Prison

Jul 9, 2020
Originally published on July 9, 2020 3:14 pm

Updated at 6:11 p.m. ET

President Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, has been taken back to prison less than two months after being released early to home confinement over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said in an email to NPR that Cohen "refused the conditions of his home confinement and as a result, has been returned to a BOP facility." The agency did not provide any further details.

Lanny Davis, a friend and legal adviser to Cohen, told reporters Cohen went to a routine meeting Thursday with the probation office to get his ankle bracelet and sign papers to formally move from furlough to home confinement.

During that meeting, Davis says, Cohen was told to sign a document that included several conditions, including one related to media contacts.

"It was a prohibition on speaking to anyone in the media, any engagement on social media platforms, anybody working on films and no publication of any books," Davis said, relating what he was told by Cohen's attorney Jeffrey Levine, who attended the meeting.

Davis said Cohen "immediately objected," particularly to a ban on publishing books because Cohen is finishing up a book on his life and experience working for Trump.

"He was not going to agree and didn't think it was lawful or appropriate to give up his First Amendment rights under home confinement," Davis said.

According to Davis, Cohen waited for 90 minutes before three U.S. Marshals showed up and took him into custody. At that point, Davis says, Cohen told them he would sign the document.

Davis said "there's something not right" about the circumstance surrounding Cohen's return to custody. And he pushed back against the idea that it was related to recent photos of Cohen dining out at a French restaurant on New York's Upper East Side last week with his wife.

Cohen never received word from the authorities that the incident was a violation of his release.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to lying to Congress, financial crimes and campaign finance violations involving hush money payments to women who allege to have had sexual relations with Trump. The president denies the affairs.

Cohen reported to federal prison in New York in May 2019 to serve his three-year sentence. But this May, he was released to home confinement amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the nation's prisons.

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