Michael Cohen to be released Thursday and will serve remaining prison sentence at home
President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen will be released early from prison on Thursday and is expected to serve out the remainder of his sentence at home as coronavirus continues to spread behind bars, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Cohen will be released on furlough while he completes the process of being moved to home confinement, the person said.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report on Cohen’s impending release.
Cohen was serving a three-year sentence in New York after pleading guilty to lying to Congress, tax charges and two campaign finance charges for facilitating hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump. Trump has denied having affairs with the women.
Cohen’s shift to home confinement comes as the Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons have released scores of nonviolent and vulnerable inmates early as the pandemic grew in the corrections system. Cohen had anticipated being released earlier this month but his release was delayed as the agency’s conditions for early release amid the pandemic were narrowed.
Cohen’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump had been irked by reports that Cohen was going to be released early due to the pandemic, multiple people familiar with the President’s thinking previously told CNN.
Cohen had been a vocal surrogate for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, often sparring with reporters and appearing on television to support his longtime client. But when pleading guilty, he implicated the President, telling a federal judge that he had made the payments “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump, who prosecutors identified in court filings as “Individual 1.”
The charges against Cohen punctuated a climactic end to a months-long investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which exposed that he had acted with Trump and his allies, including David Pecker — the CEO of the National Enquirer’s publisher, American Media Inc. — to suppress potentially damaging claims against the now-President.
His early release comes in the middle of Trump’s reelection campaign and as the President is facing his greatest test: handling the pandemic.
And Cohen, who is working on a tell-all book about his time working with Trump, has been served a cease and desist letter from Charles Harder, an attorney for the Trump Organization, requesting he stop working on the book, according to two sources.
Among the reasons cited by Harder, they say, is writing the book would violate a confidentiality agreement and a lawyer’s ethical and legal obligations, such as attorney-client privilege.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Kara Scannell and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.
THE-CNN-WIRE™ & © 2020 CABLE NEWS NETWORK, INC., A TIME WARNER COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.