Prosecutors agree to lift gag order on Michael Cohen
Federal prosecutors on Thursday agreed to lift a gag order on Michael Cohen, allowing the former attorney for President Trump to continue writing a memoir as he serves out his three-year prison sentence in home confinement.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan backed down from its insistence that Cohen not engage with the media or publish anything while out on home confinement after a judge this month ruled that the condition was in retaliation over his plans to write a tell-all about his years working for Trump.
In a court filing submitted Thursday afternoon, the prosecutors said “the parties agree that a specific provision regarding Petitioner’s contact with the media is not necessary.”
The president’s former attorney pleaded guilty to charges including fraud and lying to Congress in 2018. He began speaking out against Trump amid his legal ordeal.
Cohen had initially been released from a federal prison in New York to home confinement in May due to the coronavirus pandemic, but was suddenly detained and sent back to the facility when he and his lawyer had objected to the gag order that was included in the terms of his release.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Justice Department, arguing that the provision violated Cohen’s First Amendment rights.
District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein agreed, and during a hearing earlier this month, excoriated the Justice Department and ordered Cohen to be returned to home confinement.
“I’ve never seen such a clause,” Hellerstein said during the 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.”
Cohen will once again be able to speak freely with the media if Hellerstein approves the new proposed conditions for his release that the U.S. Attorney’s office submitted on Thursday.