Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to be released from prison to home confinement amid coronavirus, source says

Michael Cohen, the former attorney for President Trump who was imprisoned last year after pleading guilty to several charges, is expected to be released to home confinement Thursday amid concerns over the coronavirus, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News on Wednesday evening.

Cohen, 53, has been serving his three-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville, N.Y., a federal prison in the countryside 70 miles northwest of New York City, after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress about Trump's past dealings in Russia, among other charges. He started serving his sentence in May 2019 and was scheduled to be released in November 2021.

His planned release came as advocates have been pressing the federal government and state governments to release at-risk inmates over fears of a COVID-19 outbreak in correctional facilities, where social distancing is nearly impossible to maintain in such close quarters.

This past April, Cohen was placed in solitary confinement following a verbal altercation with another inmate after the inmate complained about his Internet use.

A federal judge in March denied his request for early release in lieu of home confinement. In his ruling, Judge William H. Pauley III wrote the attempt was another “effort to inject himself into the news cycle.”

The judge added, “Cohen has not even attempted to argue that he is uniquely at risk as compared to other inmates. Nor could he: He is 53 years old and in good health.”

The Bureau of Prisons [BOP] has placed Cohen on furlough as it continued to process a move to home confinement, the person familiar with the matter said. The agency had the authority to release federal inmates on furlough for up to 30 days.

Many inmates have been seeking home confinement as the number of COVID-19 cases continued to increase in the federal prison system.

BOP officials said last week that more than 2,400 inmates had been moved into home confinement since Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the agency to increase the practice.

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Other high-profile inmates have also been released as the number of coronavirus cases soars in the federal prison system. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released on home confinement last week. Michael Avenatti, the attorney who rose to fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump, was freed temporarily from a federal jail in New York and is said to have been staying at a friend’s house in Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.