Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen to be released from federal prison


Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, returned to his NY home on Thursday (May 21) after being released early from a federal prison due to concerns he could be exposed to the novel coronavirus there.

Cohen, 53, who once proclaimed he "would take a bullet for the president", was sentenced in 2018 to a three-year federal prison term following guilty pleas to a number of financial and political crimes, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

The federal Bureau of Prisons approved the early release after Cohen's lawyers requested that he have his sentence cut short or serve the remainder at home because of unsafe prison conditions.

Unlike Manafort, Cohen, who's been described as Trump's "fixer", fully turned on his former boss, calling him a "con man" and "a cheat" during dramatic testimony before Congress a year ago.

Cohen is reportedly working on an unflattering tell-all book about his time working Trump that is expected to be published before the November presidential election.

A Cohen lawyer in March said the federal Bureau of Prisons has been "demonstrably incapable of safeguarding and treating BOP inmates who are obliged to live in close quarters and are at an enhanced risk of catching coronavirus".

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Cohen worked for Trump for more than a decade and was often described as Trump's "fixer" until a rift occurred between them. Cohen has called Trump a "racist", a "con man" and "a cheat".

His release came as advocates have been pressing the federal government and state governments to release at-risk inmates over fears of a COVID-19 outbreak in correctional facilities, where social distancing is almost impossible to maintain in such close quarters. Otisville is not one of those facilities.

Former New York State Senate leader Dean Skelos was serving a sentence related to federal corruption charges at FCI Otisville but has been released and ordered to finish his sentence at home after testing positive for COVID-19.

The source told the AP that the BOP possesses the authority to release inmates on furlough for up to 30 days and has recently been using that power to transfer inmates who are slated for home confinement down the line.

A federal judge denied an earlier attempt by Cohen to secure an early release and said in a ruling earlier this month that it "appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle".