Judge orders Michael Cohen released to home confinement, says imprisonment was ‘retaliatory’ over planned book

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A federal judge on Thursday said the recent move by the Justice Department to put former Trump attorney Michael Cohen back in prison was “retaliatory” and claimed it was related his forthcoming tell-all book, ordering Cohen released by Friday afternoon to home confinement.

The decision came after Cohen earlier this month was sent back to prison and into solitary confinement at Otisville federal prison in upstate New York after violating the terms of his home confinement.

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York Alvin Hellerstein on Thursday said the move to send Cohen back to prison was “retaliatory” and believed it was related to his book.

Hellerstein said he determined “the purpose of the transferring” was “because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book and discuss anything about the book.”

“That’s my essential finding and the injunction is against continuing retaliation against Mr. Cohen by keeping him in jail when he should be confined as he was before the retaliation at home,” the judge said.

The Bureau of Prisons on Thursday denied the judge’s claims in a statement, saying, “Any assertion that the decision to remand Michael Cohen to prison was a retaliatory action is patently false.”

“While it is not uncommon for BOP to place certain restrictions on inmates’ contact with the media, Mr. Cohen’s refusal to agree to those conditions here played no role whatsoever in the decision to remand him to secure custody nor did his intent to publish a book,” the statement said.

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