Michael Cohen released to home confinement after judge rules re-imprisonment was 'retaliation'

Michael Cohen released to home confinement after judge rules re-imprisonment was 'retaliation'
© Greg Nash

Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: White House, Dems debate coronavirus relief package Michael Cohen offered job as political consultant, lawyer says On The Money: Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in stimulus talks | Prosecutors hint at probe into 'possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization' MORE was released from prison again on Friday to serve his three-year sentence from home a day after a judge ruled that prison officials had "retaliated" against the former lawyer to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE.

Cohen had been released to home confinement in May but was suddenly sent back to prison on July 9 over a dispute with corrections officials over the terms of his release.

Cohen, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), sued for his release earlier this week, accusing prison officials of retaliating against him over his plan to publish a book about his years working for the president.

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“With this release, the Trump administration would do well to remember that it cannot put someone in prison for writing a book critical of the president,” Vera Eidelman, an attorney with the ACLU, said in a statement.

District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Thursday ordered Cohen to be released once again to home confinement, saying the federal Bureau of Prison wrongly tried to force a gag order upon him as a condition of his release. Hellerstein said it appeared to be retaliation over Cohen's plan to publish the book.

"I’ve never seen such a clause," Hellerstein said during a Thursday hearing. "In 21 years of being a judge and sentencing people and looking at the conditions of supervised release, I’ve never seen such a clause."

The condition will likely be officially removed from the terms of his release in the coming days.

“I just spoke with my client as he left FCI Otisville," Cohen's attorney Danya Perry told The Hill in an email. "He is extremely gratified that the court upheld his fundamental constitutional right to speak freely and publicly, and he looks forward to doing exactly that.”