President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen will reportedly be released from prison on Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations during Trump's impeachment trial and has since been serving his sentence in a New York prison. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, he will serve the remainder of his time on house arrest.
A source familiar with Cohen's situation said that he is being allowed to transfer to "home confinement" because of the growing risk of the coronavirus poses to inmates. He will be released on furlough to complete the rest of his sentence, but it is no clear if he is a singular case or if other prisoners are getting the same treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated prison populations around the country, and many are looking for ways to keep prisoners safe.
A judge sentenced Cohen to three years in prison after pleading guilty to lying to Congress, campaign finance violations and tax charges. He testified that he used money from the Trump campaign to pay hush money to two women who had alleged affairs with Trump. He became a viral sensation for a time after his dramatic repentance in his public testimony.
According to a report by CNN, the Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons have moved dozens of inmates into alternate forms of confinement as the coronavirus pandemic grows worse. They have mainly focused on nonviolent offenders and those with who are the most vulnerable to the virus — either by their age, health status or pre-existing conditions. It is no clear how Cohen qualified.
So far, Cohen's lawyers have not commented publicly on his transition to house arrest. The attorney had reportedly expected to be released sooner, but the move was delayed due to the changing status of the pandemic in the U.S.
Cohen began his sentence at the federal prison near Otisville, New York, on May 6, 2019. He also paid a $50,000 fine for his crimes. If he serves his full sentence, he will not be eligible for true release until the spring of 2022.
Although the United States Senate acquitted Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in February, Cohen has spoken out harshly against his former employer, calling in lawmakers to remove him from office. Trump has fired back at Cohen on occasion but has not yet commented on his release from prison.