Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former fixer and longtime attorney, will be released from prison early and serve the remainder of his three-year term under home confinement, according to multiple media reports.
Cohen will be released from a facility in New York later this week, The Wall Street Journal reported. He has served about a year of his sentence after being convicted on charges of lying to Congress and violating campaign finance laws when he directed hush-money payments to women who said they had sex with Trump. Cohen was scheduled to be released in November 2021.
Cohen’s attorneys initially asked the courts to let him serve the remainder of his sentence at home as the coronavirus began to spread, but a federal judge rejected the request, saying he believed the plea was “just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle.”
The Associated Press reported last month, however, that Cohen was scheduled to be released early as the outbreak grew. The Bureau of Prisons has the authority to release inmates to home confinement without a judicial order.
As the coronavirus spread around the nation, Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons last month to expand its guidelines for prisoners who are eligible for early release or home confinement. Barr said the agency should work to protect “the most vulnerable” in affected facilities.
“We are experiencing significant levels of infection at several of our facilities,” Barr wrote in a memo obtained by Politico. “We have to move with dispatch in using home confinement, where appropriate, to move vulnerable inmates out of these institutions.”
More than 1.5 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19. Prisons and jails have been hit hard by the virus due to their low rates of testing and inconsistent reporting of outbreaks, according to investigations.
Several other high-profile people have been released from prison in recent weeks, including Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Michael Avenatti, who represented Stormy Daniels, one of the women who received a hush-money payment from Cohen.
The Bureau of Prisons has more than 137,000 federal inmates and 36,000 staff members. The agency says more than 2,200 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19.
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