A federal judge on Thursday ordered former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen released from prison and into home confinement, ruling he was sent back into federal custody earlier this month in retaliation for a forthcoming tell-all book.
Judge Alvin Hellerstein concluded Cohen, who was put back in federal custody after being temporarily released due to coronavirus-related concerns, had been returned to prison in retaliation for “failing to agree a day earlier to not to publish a book about Trump as one of multiple conditions for serving the remainder of his three-year prison term on home confinement,” according to CNBC.
“The purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory and its retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his first amendment rights to publish a book and discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and others,” Hellerstein ruled.
Cohen had been furloughed from prison in late May due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Shortly before being taken into custody he had been posting on social media about his upcoming book, which is going to be critical of Trump.
“I’ve never seen such a clause, in 21 years in being a judge,” Hellerstein said at a Manhattan federal court hearing, where he questioned the condition that Cohen not publish a book while in home confinement.
“How can I take any other inference but that it was retaliatory? “the judge asked at the hearing, which was held in response to Cohen suing to win his re-release from prison.
The terms of Cohen’s release are still under negotiation.
“Just as you wouldn’t have a press conference from a jail cell, you shouldn’t be able to have a press conference from your home. You can communicate, you can discuss, you can post on social media, but you can’t make a confinement into a free person,” Hellerstein said.
“You can’t make a person confined in jail or at home into totally free person. There’s got to be a limit,” the judge added.
Cohen is slated to be released Friday at 2 p.m., according to reports.
This story is developing…