Cohen says that former President Trump sent him back to prison to prevent the release of his tell-all memoir.
Michael Cohen has filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, alleging that Trump retaliated against him for writing a tell-all memoir.
According to The Associated Press, Michael Cohen—once Trump’s personal attorney—recently completely a three-year prison sentence for varied crimes including tax evasion, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress.
Cohen, adds The A.P., reported to prison in May 2019 but was released to house arrest as authorities struggled to contain a coronavirus outbreak.
Several weeks later, however, Cohen was ordered back to prison, with authorities claiming that he “failed to accept” certain conditions of his release.
Michael Cohen in 2018. Image via Wikimedia Commons/author:The Circus (YouTube). Listed as (CCA-BY-3.0).However, Cohen said that his only transgression had been asking whether he would be allowed to speak to the media and publish a memoir.
Cohen claims that, once he was back in prison, he was immediately moved to solitary confinement, where he was kept for at least 16 days.
In isolation, Cohen says that he suffered from shortness of breath, headaches, and anxiety, all while stuck inside a small cell he was only allowed to leave for 30 minutes each day.
The Associated Press notes that prosecutors later insisted that Cohen’s probation officers did not know about his impending book release when they wrote a provision severely restricting his ability to communicate with the media.
Nevertheless, a federal judge intervened, taking Cohen out of prison and allowing him once more to return to house arrest, finding that his re-imprisonment had been “retaliatory.”
Now, Cohen’s lawsuit is seeking damages for “extreme physical and emotional harm,” as well as violations of Cohen’s First Amendment rights.
“Unless the government and others are held accountable for their retaliation and unconstitutional remand back to prison of Michael Cohen, illegal actions akin to what happened here can continue to persist as a weapon,” Cohen’s attorney, Jeffrey K. Levine, told Business Insider.
Levine further suggested that, if Cohen’s punishment is left unchallenged, other people could be similarly punished for exercising their First Amendment rights.
“This is not hyperbole, this is real,” Levine said, “and it irrefutably just happened.”
Cohen has also called for former President Trump to be prosecuted, and has continued providing information to New York prosecutors who are investigating whether Trump misled banks and tax authorities in order to get loans or avail tax relief programs.
Cohen has said that he will continue providing “information, testimony, documents and my full cooperation on all ongoing investigations to ensure that others are held responsible for their dirty deeds and that no one is ever believed to be above the law.”
Michael Cohen is suing Donald Trump, claiming he was returned to prison in order to silence him — and seeking $20 million
Michael Cohen sues Trump claiming retaliatory imprisonment
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