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Michael Cohen taken back into police custody

Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenPress: Trump's biggest fear is — lock him up Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’s former personal attorney, is back in police custody after refusing to abide by the conditions of his coronavirus-related release, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said Thursday.

"Today, Michael Cohen refused the conditions of his home confinement and as a result, has been returned to a BOP facility," a BOP spokesperson said in a statement.

Cohen’s return to police custody comes after the New York Post published photos of the attorney dining out in Manhattan on Thursday, which Cohen’s attorney told reporters may have led to his return to custody. His attorney Jeffrey Levine said Cohen was taken to a federal detention center in Brooklyn.

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Trump’s former lawyer was furloughed from federal prison in May to serve the rest of his three-year prison sentence at home because of coronavirus concerns.

Lanny Davis, a legal advisor to Cohen, said Cohen and Levine met with probation officials in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Thursday morning. Davis told reporters Cohen was presented with an agreement requiring him not to speak with reporters, cease cooperation with any film or book project and avoid posting on social media during the rest of his sentence.

The agreement also prohibited Cohen from telling relatives and friends to post on social media on his behalf. 

When Levine objected to the agreement, U.S. Marshals came and took Cohen into custody.

When the U.S. Marshals started to put shackles on Cohen, he “reacted very quickly” and said he would sign the agreement with the restrictions on speaking to the media in order to avoid going back to jail, Davis said, but by then the U.S. Marshals told him it was out of their hands. 

The Federal Bureau of Prisons requires that those applying for furlough give an address. The conditions of the furlough include not leaving that address without permission except when traveling between the address and the institution, according to the Post. 

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Photos from Friday showed Cohen eating out with his wife and another couple. Levine defended his client's move, telling the Post that Cohen “did not violate any of the terms and conditions of his release ... and any assertion or suggestion to the contrary would be wholly inaccurate and untrue.”

Davis said Cohen told him he was never told by anyone at the Bureau of Prisons that his going out to dinner at a restaurant near his home was in violation of the rules, even after the photos were published. 

“Whether it is a violation of the rules or not for him to have done that I do not know, but Michael did not believe it was,” Davis said.

“He's never been called and told it was a violation of the rules,” he added.

Davis also said the meeting with the probation officers Thursday morning was a routine scheduled visit and was not related to the photos published of Cohen at the restaurant. 

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges of campaign finance violations involving payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump before the 2016 election and charges involving lying to Congress about a Russian project Trump was working on during his campaign.

He was sentenced to three years starting in May 2019.

As the president’s attorney and “fixer,” Cohen was involved in several federal investigations and ended up cooperating with investigators probing Trump. He testified before Congress last year, detailing the president’s alleged misconduct. 

A federal judge had declined Cohen's request for home confinement before his release.

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day Redeeming justice: the next attorney general MORE ruled that prisoners could be released without judicial approval to reduce the prison population during the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 5 p.m.