Former Trump fixer Michael Cohen was taken back into federal custody just weeks after he was released from prison over coronavirus concerns, The New York Times reports.
Cohen was taken into custody at a Manhattan courthouse where he was set to sign routine paperwork related to his house arrest. He was released in May on a medical furlough.
Cohen was “stunned” when probation officers asked him to sign a document that would ban him from speaking to the media or publishing a book during the length of his sentence, his legal adviser Lanny Davis told the Times.
“Mr. Cohen, believing the agreement violated his First Amendment rights, refused to sign it,” Davis told the outlet. “Less than two hours later, federal marshals stepped out of an elevator with handcuffs and took Mr. Cohen back into custody.”
The Bureau of Prisons said that Cohen had been returned to jail after he “refused the conditions of his home confinement.
Cohen teased book:
Cohen last week teased that he is “close to completion of my book” after extensive coverage of Trump’s niece Mary Trump’s book about the president.
Davis told the Times that the book was ready to be published and included a collection of his experiences as Trump’s lawyers and fixer.
Cohen previously testified to Congress that he turned down a $750,000 book deal.
DOJ sought media blackout:
Cohen was asked to sign a document that included eight conditions, including “no engagement of any kind with the media, including print, TV, film, books, or any other form of media/news.”
The purpose was to “avoid glamorizing or bringing publicity to your status as a sentenced inmate serving a custodial term in the community,” the document said.
Cohen said he had already spoken to reporters and refused to sign.