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Michael Cohen to be released from prison; judge believes government retaliated for book

Judge orders Michael Cohen to be released from prison
Posted at 8:59 AM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 12:12:48-04

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has ordered the release from prison of President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, saying he believes the government retaliated against him for writing a book about Trump.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered Michael Cohen released from prison by 2 p.m. on Friday.

Cohen sued the government earlier this week, saying he was ordered back to prison on July 9 because he was writing a book to be released before the November presidential election.

Hellerstein said he believes Cohen's First Amendment rights were violated by the decision.

Prosecutors say Cohen was returned to prison because he refused to sign an agreement describing terms of his home confinement, not because he planned to publish a book critical of Trump.

Cohen was freed in May during a reduction of prison populations because of the coronavirus crisis. He had served one year of a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to charges including campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress.