Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen back in federal prison

NEW YORK (AP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was returned to federal prison on Thursday, after balking at certain conditions of the home confinement he was granted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Records obtained by The Associated Press (AP) said Cohen was ordered into custody after he “failed to agree to the terms of Federal Location Monitoring” in Manhattan.

But Cohen’s attorneys disputed that, saying Cohen took issue with a condition of his home confinement that forbid him from speaking with the media and publishing a tell-all book he began working on in federal prison. The rules also prohibited him from “posting on social media,” the records show.

“The purpose is to avoid glamorising or bringing publicity to your status as a sentenced inmate serving a custodial term in the community,” the document said.

Cohen has written a tell-all book that he had been preparing to publish about his time working for the Trump Organisation, his lawyers said.

“Cohen was sure this was written just for him,” his attorney, Jeffrey Levine, said of the home confinement conditions. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

A Justice Department official pushed back on that characterisation and said Cohen had refused to accept the terms of home confinement, specifically that he submit to wearing an ankle monitor. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Cohen’s legal adviser Lanny Davis called that “completely false,” adding that “at no time did Michael ever object to the ankle bracelet”.

Cohen later agreed to accept all of the requirements of home confinement but was taken into custody nevertheless, Davis said. “He stands willing to sign the entire document if that’s what it takes” to be released.