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Michael Cohen Jailed For Rejecting Terms of Home Confinement

Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, was blindsided today by the U.S. Marshals and taken into custody, to await return to a federal prison.

Cohen was furloughed by the U.S. Bureau of Prison back in May, due to the coronavirus. A furlough is temporary. BOP decides what happens when it's over. Sometimes you go back to prison. Sometimes you go home to serve the remainder of your sentence on home confinement.

BOP decided Cohen could serve the rest of his sentence on home confinement and not return to prison when the furlough was up.

Home confinement has restrictions. The conditions are spelled out in a agreement between you and BOP. Cohen apparently had not yet begun his home confinement because he and BOP had not agreed on the terms.

According to Cohen's lawyer, Cohen and his lawyer went down to the U.S. Marshal's office today to sign the agreement. [More...]

But Cohen balked at a condition that he can't have contact with the media or write a book. Cohen has been very public about his book deal and that he's been writing it. His lawyer wanted to negotiate the book and media restrictions with the Marshal's Service, and instead, they took Cohen into custody claiming he rejected the terms of home confinement, and since the furlough was over, he had to go back to prison to finish his sentence.

So Cohen tonight is at MDC in Brooklyn where he will await designation to a new facility. When he was sentenced, BOP honored the Judge's recommendation that he go to the camp at Otisville, but now it's between BOP and Cohen. Cohen's lawyers may file a motion with the Judge protesting the arrest, but Cohen's judge doesn't regard him in a favorable light. (Cohen had requested compassionate release from the judge before asking for a furlough and the judge was quite emphatic that would not happen.)

Now about that dinner out....Cohen was on a furlough. Clearly, he thought he was allowed to do so otherwise he wouldn't have sat outside on the restaurant's patio for hours. Is he allowed to do so?

Here is a recent furlough contract with conditions. Of course, there's a place for special conditions and we don't know if Cohen had any. But the conditions we do see don't say he can't go out to dinner -- they say he can't travel outside the "extended area" of his residence. Since the restaurant was very close to his apartment, I doubt he could be considered to have left the "extended area." In any event, I think it's vague and for that reason, any ambiguity should be resolved against the drafter, which is BOP.

But, would the Marshals have been so adamant about refusing to even discuss the media and book restrictions had they not been embarrassed by the big photo of Cohen enjoying himself at an expensive restaurant while on a medical furlough? According to one article I read, Cohen's lawyer said today, draw your own conclusion.

Or, did William Barr order Cohen's arrest to prevent another scathing book about Trump to be released before the election? The courts didn't stop John Bolton or Mary Trump, so maybe Barr figured it was his job to do so to protect Trump. (I don't think Trump is clever enough to come up with such a plan on his own).

Anyway, tongues will wag about this one.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I think this is outrageous. The gag order (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Peter G on Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 09:44:04 PM EST
    that they demanded he sign, and then put him in jail for not signing, is a blatant violation of his First Amendment rights -- even as a prisoner. It is not something that others in his position are required to abide by, and was probably selectively directed at him from the White House via AG Barr. It is not about his bad judgment eating out at a fancy restaurant (which as far as I can tell did not violate the conditions of his "furlough"). (reposting my comment from the open thread on this subject)

    The test of whether you believe in principles (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Peter G on Fri Jul 10, 2020 at 08:44:37 AM EST
    is your willingness to apply them evenhanded to scumbags (or any other people you don't really like or approve of). So, while I reiterate that this action by the BOP (which is part of Barr's DOJ) appears to violate Cohen's rights, even as a prisoner, whether I care for him or not, I want to add another point. It is unethical (not illegal, but unethical) for a lawyer to write a memoir that reveals attorney-client confidences -- no matter how vile the client -- except those that clearly fall within the "crime-fraud exception" (which, if it were up to me, I would define more narrowly and make more difficult to invoke than the courts do, but that is neither here nor there).

    Parent
    I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 11, 2020 at 02:26:19 AM EST
    And the fact that the Marshals left him and his lawyer for 90 minutes after he said he wanted to negotiate the media part and  came back with the shackles suggests to me they contacted the AUSA's who then tried to get hold of Barr for instructions. That also fits with why the Marshal's said "it's too late" when he offered to sign when he saw the shackles. I would have left with my client after 30 minutes and left a handwritten note for them to call me when they were ready to continue the signing.

    No way does anyone leave you waiting at a Marshal's office for 90 minutes (unless your client is being being processed for release after signing his bond and they are f*king with you.)

    Parent

    No ankle bracelet, apparently. (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 09:41:16 PM EST


    not while on furlough (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 09, 2020 at 09:43:01 PM EST
    there are reports he was going to get one today after signing the agreement and being officially put on home confinement, but I don't know if that's correct.

    Parent
    Vindictiveness (none / 0) (#4)
    by jmacWA on Fri Jul 10, 2020 at 04:53:19 AM EST
    I am going to have to go with this is just Trump being vindictive.  If this book is close to being finished, it could come out prior to November.  It's pretty easy to see that Trump doesn't like tell all books.  Even he should realize he is toast now, so it wouldn't have any affect, but he can't help himself.

    Roger Stone sentence commuted (none / 0) (#8)
    by Peter G on Fri Jul 10, 2020 at 07:34:42 PM EST
    that is the judge's fault (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 11, 2020 at 02:30:42 AM EST
    she should have granted his request for a delay of 90 days due to coronavirus. Every other defendant in that district was granted such a request and it was office policy, according to the defense brief.
    He wasn't a flight risk or a danger to the community, it really should have been no skin off of her teeth but she got vindictive and Trump reacted as he always does -- he's the king and no judge will mess with his friends.

    Maybe DOJ ought to start turning the cases of Trump pals over to the state courts where Trump has no pardon or clemency power. Especially states with Democratic governors.

    Parent

    How would this work, J? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Zorba on Sat Jul 11, 2020 at 04:49:21 PM EST
    How many of them have committed state crimes, as opposed to federal crimes?

    Parent
    See this commentary at CNN (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 13, 2020 at 02:50:27 AM EST
    today on the topic co-authored by the excellent criminal defense lawyer Jerry Lefcourt

    Parent
    Furrowed (none / 0) (#12)
    by FlJoe on Sat Jul 11, 2020 at 05:07:09 PM EST
    brow alert
    Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, on Saturday criticized President Donald Trump's decision to commute the prison sentence of Roger Stone, calling it "unprecedented, historic corruption."


    Parent
    This (none / 0) (#13)
    by FlJoe on Sun Jul 12, 2020 at 04:12:45 PM EST
    is more raised eyebrow territory
    Senate Judiciary Committee Charman Lindsey Graham (R-Sc) stunned political observers on Sunday by siding with Democrats to allow former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before his committee about his investigation into the Donald Trump administration.


    Parent
    Lindsey (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Jul 12, 2020 at 04:14:50 PM EST
    Figured out he's going to lose

    Parent
    Roger Stone's (none / 0) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 13, 2020 at 04:21:43 PM EST
    commutation order voids all elements of the sentence, including the two-year supervised release and the $20,000 fine.  He is still a convicted felon.

    Parent