September 21, 2020

Judge Orders Cohen Released, Citing ‘Retaliation’ Over Tell-All Book

A federal judge on Thursday ordered that Michael D. Cohen be released into home confinement after finding that federal officials had returned him to prison in retaliation for his plans to write a tell-all memoir about President Trump.

The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of Federal District Court, said prisons officials had forced Mr. Cohen back to prison this month after he had been released on medical furlough because of his desire to publish a book before the election about his years as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer.

“I make the finding that the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory,” the judge said. “And it’s retaliation 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.”

The judge ordered that Mr. Cohen be released from prison on Friday to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement at his Manhattan apartment.

Mr. Cohen sued U.S. officials on Monday night, claiming federal officials sent him back into custody to prevent him from completing the book. In court papers, he said the book would paint Mr. Trump as a racist and offer revealing details about “the president’s behavior behind closed doors.”