President Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen has been taken back into custody for violating the terms of his early release from prison, the federal Bureau of Prisons said Thursday.
“Today, Michael Cohen refused the conditions of his home confinement and as a result, has been returned to a BOP facility,” a Bureau of Prisons official said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Cohen was furloughed from prison in late May due to coronavirus concerns and was restricted to home confinement as part of a program to release inmates from federal custody as the virus rapidly spread in prisons across the country.
A federal judge had previously denied Cohen’s plea for an early release to home confinement after serving just 10 months of his three-year sentence. But the Bureau of Prisons has the authority to move prisoners to home confinement without a judicial order. Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to increase the practice of home confinement for inmates citing concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Cohen was among those granted a May 21 release.
The President’s ex-lawyer was photographed by the New York Post dining out at a Manhattan restaurant earlier this month. Some speculate the outing is among the reasons for his return to custody, but that has not been confirmed.
ABC News reported that, according to a source, Cohen was in a Manhattan federal court on Thursday to arrange the conditions for his confinement at home and when he “scoffed” at one of the conditions for his release, he was taken back into custody. Vanity Fair reporter Emily Jane Fox, citing Cohen’s attorney, reported that Cohen was given eight different terms for his home confinement, including not tweeting or talking to the media.
Michael Cohen was presented with 8 terms of home confinement this morning, 1 of which required him to agree not to talk to media, not to tweet or publish a book. He wouldn't agree and, after going back and forth for an hour and a half, was handcuffed, according to Lanny Davis
— Emily Jane Fox (@emilyjanefox) July 9, 2020
Before his May release, Cohen was serving a three-year sentence in a New York federal prison. He’s been incarcerated since May 2019 after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, criminal tax evasion and campaign finance violations. The campaign finance charges stem from his involvement in a 2016 hush money scheme designed to keep two women silent about alleged affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs and claims he was uninvolved in the hush payments.