Michael Cohen to Be Released to Home Confinement Due to Coronavirus

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, stops to talk to a member of the press on May 4, 2019, in New York, NY. (AP Photo/Jonathan Carroll)

(CN) — President Donald Trump’s former fixer and personal lawyer Michael Cohen will be released from prison early and confined to his home to serve the remainder of his federal sentence in light of concerns over the virus pandemic, according to media reports on Thursday.

Cohen, 53, is currently serving a three-year sentence for tax fraud, lying to Congress and violating campaign-finance laws. He admitted to arranging hush payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal for their silence on alleged affairs with Trump.

The president’s former confidant has been serving time at the Otisville Federal Correctional Institution, a minimum-security prison in New York that has seen 14 inmates and seven staff test positive for the coronavirus.

Cohen, who is set to be released in November 2021, will have to spend two weeks in quarantine at the prison before he can be sent home. He is scheduled to get out on May 1, as first reported by CNN.

His release comes after he asked a federal judge in March to be sentenced to home confinement over fears of the virus. U.S. District Judge William Pauley III refused the request, calling it a media stunt.

“Apparently searching for a new argument to justify a modification of his sentence to home confinement, Cohen now raises the specter of Covid-19,” U.S. District Judge William Pauley III wrote. “That Cohen would seek to single himself out for release to home confinement appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle. As the government points out, he is ‘manifestly ineligible’ for compassionate release and has not exhausted his administrative remedies.”

However, Attorney General William Barr recently instructed the Bureau of Prisons to identify and release eligible prisoners to home confinement as infections have increased greatly among federal prisons.

Almost 1,200 federal prisoners have been released by the bureau in an effort to contain the infection rate. According to the bureau, 279 staff and 473 inmates have contracted the virus, with 16 inmate deaths.

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