World Media

Trump aide released from prison early because of coronavirus

Michael Cohen

President Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, was released from a federal prison and into home confinement Thursday. He has been disbarred in NY.

Cohen, 53, had completed a bit more than a year of a three-year sentence for his role paying hush money to two women - pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - who said they had sexual relationships with Trump, as well as for financial crimes and lying to Congress.

Cohen's release from Otisville, included in Forbes' "10 Cushiest Prisons" of America, comes as a number of correctional facilities across the nation have been releasing inmates in response to the highly contagious COVID-19 novel coronavirus - especially those who may be immunocompromised and are therefore at a higher risk of dying from the virus.

Cohen was released as part of the Justice Department's push to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among inmates, his lawyer said.
The lawyer, Jeffrey Levine, is expected to issue a statement later in the day.

He will be released on furlough with the expectation that he will transition to home confinement to serve the remainder of his sentence at home, the person said.

Though there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the facility, the outlet noted that only 600 of the total 36,000 state prisoners in IL have even been tested. The agency had the authority to release federal inmates on furlough for up to 30 days.

Prison advocates and congressional leaders have been pressing the Justice Department for weeks to release at-risk inmates, arguing that the public health guidance to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from other people is almost impossible behind bars.

Cohen is expected to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest, United States media including the New York Times reported citing sources, but this had not been officially announced.

This past April, Cohen was placed in solitary confinement following a verbal altercation with another inmate after the inmate complained about his Internet use.

"That Cohen would seek to single himself out for release to home confinement appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle", Judge William Pauley wrote in the order denying his request. The 71-year-old was considered a high-risk inmate for potentially contracting coronavirus.