Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at his Manhattan apartment after being released from federal prison to serve the remainder his sentence under home confinement in New York City, New York U.S., May 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, returned to his New York home on Thursday after being released early from a federal prison due to concerns he could be exposed to the novel coronavirus there.
Cohen, 53, had completed a bit more than a year of a three-year sentence for his role paying hush money to two women – pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual relationships with Trump, as well as for financial crimes and lying to Congress.
Trump has denied relationships with either woman.
Wearing a white surgical mask, blue jeans and a dark blazer, Cohen emerged from a Mercedes and walked into his Manhattan apartment building without responding to questions from waiting journalists.
He is expected to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement, according to two sources familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Cohen had been eligible for release from prison in November 2021.
Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from a federal prison in Pennsylvania last week to finish his sentence at home due to similar concerns.
A Cohen lawyer in March said the federal Bureau of Prisons has been “demonstrably incapable of safeguarding and treating BOP inmates who are obliged to live in close quarters and are at an enhanced risk of catching coronavirus.”
Cohen, who once said he would “take a bullet” for Trump, later turned on his former boss and cooperated with Democratic-led congressional inquiries. Trump has called Cohen a “rat.” Cohen has called Trump a “racist,” a “con man” and “a cheat.”
Cohen pleaded guilty to the charges that led to his imprisonment. They also included lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Reporting by Aram Roston and Mark Hosenball, additional reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Will Dunham