Judge says DOJ retaliated against Michael Cohen for writing book about Trump, orders him released from prison

Michael Cohen
(Image credit: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen is once again being released from prison.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein on Thursday said that the Department of Justice retaliated against Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer, when it sent him back to prison earlier this month and ordered him to be released into home confinement, The Associated Press reports.

Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to tax fraud, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress, was released into home confinement in May but was ordered back to prison in July. His lawyers subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging the Department of Justice was retaliating against him over a book he was planning to publish about Trump, saying not releasing a book was one of the conditions in an agreement he was asked to sign. Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Rovner, meanwhile, said Cohen was arrested "because he was antagonistic during a meeting with probation officers," also saying the probation officer wrote the agreement wasn't aware of Cohen's planned book.

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But on Thursday, the judge sided with Cohen and said the "purpose" of sending him back to jail "is retaliatory and it's retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others," The Washington Post reports. Cohen is now set to be released by Friday afternoon.

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.