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
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, was taken into custody Thursday by U.S. Marshals and sent to a federal jail after he balked at a demand that he agree not to talk to the media, or participate with any film or book, while serving the rest of his criminal sentence on home confinement, his attorney said.
“It’s totally unnecessary, it’s totally outrageous,” said Cohen’s lawyer, Jeffrey Levine.
Cohen’s detention came weeks after his furlough from a federal prison in Westchester County, N.Y., due to concerns about him catching the coronavirus, and a week after he was photographed by a New York newspaper eating at a Manhattan restaurant.
Cohen was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, a federal jail.
The 53-year-old fallen attorney was with his lawyer Levine meeting with federal probation officials on Thursday morning in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
There, Levine said, they were presented with an agreement that would require Cohen to not speak with any reporters, refrain from cooperating with any film or book project, and avoid posting on social media while serving out the remainder of his three-year criminal sentence.
The agreement also would require Cohen to tell relatives and friends not to post on social media on his behalf.
“I’ve never seen any language like this in my life that would strip a person of their First Amendment rights to communicate with the media,” Levine told reporters waiting outside the courthouse.
When Levine objected to the language in the agreement, and asked if it could modified, he and Cohen were asked to wait in a waiting room, the attorney said.
Soon afterward, U.S. Marshals returned with shackles, and took Cohen into custody at the direction of the Bureau of Prisons under an order for failing to agree to a location monitoring agreement, Levine said.
The lawyer said that claim was “false.” He also said he was willing to agree to the terms presented by probation officials in order to get Cohen released, but was told it was too late.
Levine displayed to reporters and cameramen Cohen’s jacket and belt, which were removed from him when he was taken into custody.
Attorney for Michael Cohen, Jeffrey Levine holds Cohen’s belt and jacket up as he tells the media Cohen has been remanded outside Federal Court in the Manhattan Borough of New York City, New York, U.S., July 9, 2020.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
Levine said Cohen’s detention might be connected to a photo of him that appeared on the front page of The New York Post eating outside of his Manhattan residence, where he was supposed to be under home confinment for the remainder of a three-year criminal sentence.
“It probably has to do with the optics of everything,” Levine said of Cohen’s detention.
The Post last Friday published photos showing Cohen with his wife Laura, and another couple, at sidewalk table outside Le Bilboquet, a French restaurant close to his Upper East Side apartment. The photos were taken the evening of July 2, the newspaper reported.
On the same day as he was photographed at the restaurant, Cohen tweeted that a book he is writing is due to be released in early September.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 in federal court in Manhattan to multiple financial crimes, lying to Congress, and to campaign finance violations related to hush money payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump.
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