Politics

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen released from prison into home confinement due to coronavirus concern

Key Points
  • Michael Cohen, former longtime personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, was released early from a federal prison into home confinement because of concerns about the coronavirus.
  • Cohen will serve out his remaining time in his family's apartment in Manhattan, according to a senior law enforcement source who spoke with NBC.
  • Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to financial crimes, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations related to hush money payoffs to two women who say they had sex with Trump: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
VIDEO1:2401:24
Michael Cohen to serve remainder of sentence at home over Covid-19 fears

Michael Cohen, the former longtime personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, on Thursday was released early from a federal prison into home confinement because of concerns about the coronavirus.

Cohen, whose expected release was mysteriously delayed more than two weeks ago, will serve out the remaining time on his three-year sentence in his family's apartment in Manhattan.

The 53-year-old disbarred lawyer's sentence is due to end in November 2021.

Cohen arrived  at his home Thursday morning wearing a black suit jacket, jeans and a mask, without making any comment to waiting reporters.

But he later wrote on Twitter that "I am so glad to be home and back with my family."

"There is so much I want to say and intend to say. But now is not the right time. Soon. Thank you to all my friends and supporters," Cohen wrote.

His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cohen originally was expected to be released May 1 after finishing a 14-day quarantine.

But his departure from prison was delayed, raising concerns that he was being denied release because of his staunch criticism of Trump and plans to write a tell-all book about the president.

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps former personal attorney, arrives at his Park Avenue apartment on May 21, 2020, in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | Getty Images

The Bureau of Prisons has refused to explain why Cohen's release was postponed.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, killing 58 federal inmates and infecting more than 2,000 others in the process, the Bureau of Prisons has been releasing some inmates who either have less than half of their sentence remaining and are eligible for home confinement, or who have underlying health conditions that put them at particular risk from Covid-19.

A dozen inmates at Cohen's prison in Otisville, New York, so far have tested positive for the coronavirus. Cohen's lawyer, Roger Adler, had cited Cohen's past two hospitalizations and "pulmonary issues" in his request for early release.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to financial crimes, lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and campaign finance violations related to hush money payoffs to two women who say they had sex with Trump: porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Trump denies having sex with either woman.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany has said that the White House did not directly or indirectly interfere with a decision to delay Cohen's release.

VIDEO1:5701:57
Trump says Cohen 'lied a lot' in 'fake hearing'

Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who was serving a 7½-year prison sentence, was released earlier this month into home confinement because of worries about Covid-19. 

Manafort, who reportedly suffers from serious health problems, was hospitalized in December.

The Republican consultant was charged as part of then-special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election with a slew of financial crimes, including bank fraud and filing false income tax returns.

Manafort was convicted of eight felonies after a trial in Virginia federal court, and later pleaded guilty to other charges in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.