Michael Cohen is out of prison again. President Trump's former personal lawyer was released Friday, a day after a judge ruled that he had been sent back to prison from home confinement as retaliation for his plan to release a book critical of Trump. The AP reports that Cohen walked out of a federal prison in New York in the afternoon. On Thursday, US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that Cohen's First Amendment rights were violated when he was ordered back to prison on July 9. Probation authorities said he was returned to prison because he refused to sign a form prohibiting him from publishing the book or communicating with the media or public. "Mr. Cohen is extremely gratified that the court upheld his fundamental constitutional right to speak freely and publicly," his lawyer said in a statement Friday.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes. He was released to home confinement in his New York City apartment in May as authorities tried to slow the spread of the coronavirus in prisons. Cohen, 53, had sued federal prison officials and US Attorney General William Barr on Monday, saying he was ordered back to prison because of the book. He said he worked openly on his manuscript until May at the prison library and discussed his book with prison officials. The Bureau of Prisons responded after Hellerstein's Thursday ruling, saying any assertion that the reimprisonment of Cohen "was a retaliatory action is patently false." It said the terms of his home confinement were determined by the US Probation Office, which is run by the courts, rather than the bureau.
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