A US federal judge Thursday ordered Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney for Donald Trump, to be released back to home confinement after finding that Cohen was being detained in retaliation for writing a book about the President. The order comes just days after his attorney and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging Cohen’s detention.
Cohen was serving a three-year sentence in Otisville, New York, for tax fraud and lying to Congress. In May, Cohen was released, after serving one year of his sentence, as part of the Department of Justice’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. While finishing his sentence under home confinement, Cohen tweeted about his upcoming book. Shortly after the tweet, the Bureau of Prisons informed Cohen that as a condition of his release, he would need to agree to a “complete bar on speaking to or through any media of any sort, including via a book.” Cohen and his lawyers asked for clarification on the new condition, and a few hours later, Cohen was arrested and remanded to prison. Cohen has been held in solitary confinement since his return to the Otisville correctional facility.
The petition claimed that Cohen was remanded in retaliation for writing his book and in violation of his First Amendment Rights. The US Department of Justice filed a memorandum in opposition to Cohen’s claims. The judge agreed with Cohen and ordered him to be released back to home confinement by Friday at 2 PM. A full written decision is expected to follow soon.