NEW YORK – President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was transferred to the same federal lockup in Otisville where he was serving time for tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance crimes before the coronavirus pandemic prompted his early release, his attorney said Friday.
The move late Thursday came hours after federal authorities said Cohen refused to accept the conditions of his home confinement, specifically that he submit to wearing an ankle monitor. He had briefly been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
Cohen attorney Jeffrey Levine said Cohen never refused to wear an ankle monitor but raised concerns about conditions of his home confinement that forbade him from using social media, speaking with the press and publishing a tell-all book he wrote in federal prison. Cohen had been planning to publish the book in the coming months.
“I was not notified and his family was not notified" of the transfer to Otisville, Levine told The Associated Press. “He is in solitary confinement under the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 for a period of two weeks.”
Cohen, 53, had been furloughed in May as part of an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in federal prisons.
He returned to custody Thursday after authorities presented him with new restrictions associated with his home confinement — a different level of supervision that includes electronic monitoring.
Cohen is completing a three-year term and is scheduled for release in November 2021, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. His attorneys, however, were preparing new legal action, having attempted to file an emergency appeal within hours of his latest arrest.
Records obtained by the AP said Cohen was remanded after he “failed to agree to the terms of Federal Location Monitoring." But Cohen's lawyers said he ultimately agreed to accept all the requirements of home confinement and was taken into custody nevertheless.
“We were engaged in a dialogue,” Levine said. “Everything was professional and pleasant.”
The federal prison in Otisville is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) from New York City, tucked in the lush countryside south of the Catskill Mountains. There currently are eight inmates and one staff member at the prison who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the BOP. Twenty inmates and 14 staff members have recovered from COVID-19.