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 CohenTrump Organization faces new scrutiny in New York civil probe Michael Cohen: Trump bluffing about another White House bid Eric Trump lawyer in New York attorney general's fraud case quits 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 TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP 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.”