ACLU and lawyers sue to free ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer sued Attorney General William Barr and the Bureau of Prisons director Monday, saying he’s being unjustly held behind bars to stop him from finishing a book that criticizes Trump.

The lawsuit on behalf of Michael Cohen was filed late Monday in Manhattan federal court, alleging his First Amendment rights were violated when he was returned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, on July 9.

A message for comment was left with the Justice Department.

Cohen, 53, had been furloughed in May as part of an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in federal prisons.

18 PHOTOS

Michael Cohen testifies before House

See Gallery

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, arrives to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, is sworn in to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a House Oversight Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Cohen plans to tell a congressional committee about alleged misdeeds by his former boss, claiming that Trump knew during the 2016 presidential election that his ally Roger Stone was talking to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks about a release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, listens during a House Oversight Committee hearing with Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Cohen plans to tell a congressional committee about alleged misdeeds by his former boss, claiming that Trump knew during the 2016 presidential election that his ally Roger Stone was talking to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks about a release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, pauses while speaking during a hearing with Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Cohen plans to tell a congressional committee about alleged misdeeds by his former boss, claiming that Trump knew during the 2016 presidential election that his ally Roger Stone was talking to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks about a release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-NY) listens as Michael Cohen, attorney for President Trump, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, holds document during a House Oversight Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Cohen brought documents to Wednesday’s congressional hearing to back up his case that his former boss is a ‘con man’ and ‘a cheat.’ Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27: A copy of a check paid to Michael Cohen by President Trump is displayed as Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 27: Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building featuring testimony by Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., left, and ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building featuring testimony by Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on February 27, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building featuring testimony by Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 27: From left, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building featuring testimony by Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, on Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney is seen on the tv at the Fox News Headquarters in the Newscorp Building on 6th Avenue in New York February 27, 2019 as the Ticker Tap flashes headlines while he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a House Oversight Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Cohen brought documents to Wednesday’s congressional hearing to back up his case that his former boss is a ‘con man’ and ‘a cheat.’ Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) listens to testimony by Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill February 27, 2019 in Washington, DC. Last year Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine for tax evasion, making false statements to a financial institution, unlawful excessive campaign contributions and lying to Congress as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)




HIDE CAPTION

SHOW CAPTION

He had served only a year of his three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.

Cohen’s campaign finance charges related to his efforts to arrange payouts during the 2016 presidential race to keep the porn actress Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims of extramarital affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.

Monday’s lawsuit said Cohen made it clear recently that he planned to release a tell-all book just before the November election.

“In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, he intends to tell the American people about Mr. Trump’s personality and proclivities, his private and professional affairs, and his personal and business ethics,” according to the lawsuit brought on Cohen’s behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union and attorneys Danya Perry and Samidh Guha.

The lawsuit said Cohen’s crimes related to “lying to Congress on behalf of Mr. Trump and committing campaign finance violations on behalf of Mr. Trump.”

According to the lawsuit, federal authorities moved to re-incarcerate Cohen after he tweeted on June 26 “#WillSpeakSoon” and on July 2 that he was finishing his Trump book.

The lawsuit said U.S. Probation officers, working on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons and its director, Michael Carvajal, demanded of Cohen that he agree not to speak to or through any media, including by publishing a book.

It said the officers made the unconstitutional demand, and Cohen and his lawyers sought clarification on and limitation on the prohibition on speaking, only to see him locked up after the officers said they would run his requests “up the chain” to Bureau of Prisons executives.

Cohen has remained in solitary confinement since he was taken to Otisville, the lawsuit said.

It said his health has also suffered, with his blood pressure spiking to critical levels, “leading to severe headaches, shortness of breath and anxiety.”

And, it added, he has made no progress on his book. The lawsuit sought a court order to return him to home confinement.

Source Article