Michael Cohen Is Among Prisoners to Be Released Because of Virus


Michael D. Cohen, the disgraced former lawyer for President Trump, was among some of the inmates at a federal prison camp in upstate New York who were told they would be released into home confinement because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, several defense lawyers said on Friday.

The inmates were all serving sentences at the minimum-security camp, which is attached to a medium-security federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., about 75 miles northwest of New York City. The federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to questions about the reported plan to allow some prisoners there to serve their sentences at home under supervision.

Mr. Cohen is serving a three-year sentence for federal crimes. His lawyer, Roger B. Adler, said late Thursday that after two weeks in quarantine, Mr. Cohen would be granted release into home confinement by the Bureau of Prisons because of the virus risks.

Lawyers for at least six other inmates in the Otisville camp said their clients had also been informed they would be furloughed to lessen the possibility of them contracting the virus. Some were told they would finish their sentences under house arrest. Others were told that they might be required to return to the prison camp.

Mr. Cohen and the other inmates were informed they would be held in quarantine at Otisville’s medium-security prison for 14 days before being released into their homes, where they would continue to be under the supervision of federal probation officers, the lawyers said.

Last month, a federal judge in Manhattan had rejected a request by Mr. Cohen, 53, for such release after Mr. Cohen cited his health and the risk of exposure to the coronavirus in prison. His more recent request, made to the Bureau of Prisons, was successful, Mr. Adler said.

Mr. Cohen began serving his sentence last May at the minimum-security camp at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville. He had pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, financial crimes and other offenses in connection with a scheme to pay hush money to buy the silence of two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the affairs.

The Bureau of Prisons has said that more than 470 federal inmates and over 275 prison staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus nationwide, including at least 14 inmates and seven staff members at the camp in Otisville.

Michael Levenson contributed reporting.



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