Former Trump lawyer taken into custody again

By: AFP      Published: 01:37 AM, 10 Jul, 2020
Former Trump lawyer taken into custody again
In this file photo taken on May 21, 2020 Michael Cohen (C), President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, arrives at his Park Avenue apartment in New York City. US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen was taken back into custody on July 9, 2020, for violating the terms of a release granted because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.–AFP

US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen was taken back into custody on Thursday for violating the terms of a release granted because of the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail in December 2018 after admitting paying hush money to two women who say they slept with Trump, for tax fraud and for lying to Congress.

The 53-year-old lawyer was released from prison to home confinement on May 21 as part of a push to stem the spread of COVID-19 among inmates.

Last week the New York Post tabloid carried a picture of him enjoying a meal outside at a Manhattan restaurant. 

"Today, Michael Cohen refused the conditions of his home confinement and as a result, has been returned to a BOP facility," a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons told AFP Thursday.

Once Trump's right-hand man, the 53-year-old lawyer fell out of favor with the president who dubbed him a "rat" after Cohen testified in federal court and to Congress.

In 2018 Cohen admitted a number of crimes including violating campaign finance laws by delivering payments prior to the 2016 election to a porn star and a former Playboy model alleging affairs with the president.

Cohen, the father of two children in their 20s, had been serving his sentence at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in upstate New York.

The New York Post quoted his lawyer as saying Cohen was being taken Thursday to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. 

A judge initially rejected his bid for early release over the outbreak that ravaged the state and has overrun prison facilities nationwide.

But coronavirus-relief legislation allowed Attorney General Bill Barr emergency powers to send some inmates into home confinement without judicial permission.