Michael Cohen leaves the Manhattan Attorney’s Office in New York City on March 19, 2021.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer of ex-President Donald Trump, has sued the US government for $ 20 million for being illegally jailed last year in retaliation for planning a book about Trump.
Cohen has filed a lawsuit against the US Prison Bureau, accusing the government of false arrest, false detention and unlawful detention.
Cohen, 54, says he suffered “emotional pain and suffering, mental agony and the loss of freedom” when he was sent back to federal prison just weeks after his early leave in July 2020 on concerns about his risk from Covid-19 has been.
Cohen’s attorneys are preparing a second lawsuit alleging that then Attorney General William Barr and BOP Director Michael Carvajal violated his freedom of expression in the First Amendment by putting him back in prison.
The filing comes almost a year after a Manhattan federal judge ordering Cohen’s release after more than two weeks ruled that Barr and Carvajal’s purpose in sending Cohen back to prison was “retaliation in response that Cohen intended to exercise his First Amendment ”. Rights to publish a book critical of the presidency and to discuss the book on social media. “
The government has six months to respond to Cohen’s lawsuit. If she doesn’t respond, he could file a lawsuit against the government and other defendants.
The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cohen declined to comment on the case.
His attorney Jeffrey Levine said in a statement: “Mr. Cohen was the personal attorney for the President of the United States, and if he could be thrown in jail for writing a critical book about the President, the President’s imagination didn’t take far to go. ” before we realize that such unacceptable and unconstitutional behavior could be directed against any of us. “
“This is not an exaggeration and it is not acceptable,” said Levine.
Levine told CNBC that Cohen was looking for documents under the Freedom of Information Act that “lead to retaliation” but “nothing significant” was provided by the government.
“The filing [of a claim] … is the beginning of our search for the truth, “Levine said in an email.” That is the Justice Department’s gun violence by former President and his accomplice AG William Barr, and responsibility for their actions. “
Cohen, who served Trump faithfully for years, pleaded guilty to several federal crimes in 2018.
These included campaign funding violations related to hush money payments to women who claimed to have sex with Trump, lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, and financial crime.
Cohen also became a harsh critic of Trump and cooperated with several investigations against the then president.
On Thursday, the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg were indicted in the Manhattan Supreme Court over a tax evasion scheme on the compensation of executives, including Weisselberg. Cohen assisted the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the charges.
Cohen went to jail in early 2019 after being sentenced to three years in prison. In spring 2020, however, he was given leave of absence because he feared that he was particularly at risk from the corona virus due to previous illnesses.
Shortly after his release, Cohen and his attorney were called to Manhattan on July 9 for a meeting with federal probation officers to discuss the terms of his home detention, which he was serving in lieu of his sentence.
Read more about CNBC’s political coverage:
Cohen was taken into custody that day and returned to Otisville, New York Jail, after resisting on condition that he would not publish a book about Trump or anyone else while serving the remainder of his sentence in domestic custody.
“I’ve never seen a clause like this in 21 years as a judge and convicting people,” Judge Alvin Hellerstein said during a hearing where Cohen’s lawyers demanded his release. “How can I draw conclusions other than retaliation?”
Last year the BOP said: “Any claim that the decision to send Michael Cohen to prison was in retaliation is obviously wrong.”
“While it is not uncommon for BOP to limit inmates’ contact with the media in some way, Mr. Cohen’s refusal to accept these terms here played no part in the decision to take him into custody, nor did his intention to publish a book . “