Michael Cohen is to be FREED from prison after 14 fellow inmates test positive for coronavirus - but Trump's ex-lawyer will still have to serve out three-year sentence under house arresthtt
Michael Cohen – Donald Trump
Once again we ask, “what about Bill?” What about the brothers?
If you haven’t heard, Michael Cohen will be released early from prison tomorrow, Thursday, and is expected to serve out the remainder of his sentence at home as coronavirus continues to spread behind bars, reports CNN, quoting a person familiar with the matter.
Cohen, of course, was President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney up until he was of no more use to the orange a-hole in the White House.
In any event, Cohen will be released on furlough while he completes the process of being moved to home confinement.
After pleading guilty to lying to Congress, Cohen was serving a three-year sentence in New York on tax charges and two campaign finance charges for facilitating hush-money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump.
The Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons have released scores of nonviolent and vulnerable inmates early as the pandemic grew in the corrections system. Cohen had anticipated being released earlier this month but his release was delayed as the agency’s conditions for early-release amid the pandemic were narrowed.
Cohen’s release, like Paul Manafort‘s, is seen as another example of white privilege by many African Americans who are asking where is the same concern for all the men of color who are behind bars, a lot of them, on the flimsiest of charges
Not that it matters, but so far, Cohen’s lawyers have not responded to requests for comment
LIVE: Michael Cohen begins his blistering congressional testimony that will reveal 35k checks Trump AND Don Jr. signed to repay Stormy 'hush money'
In May, Cohen began serving three-year sentence for campaign finance crimes
Cohen is incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York
At least 14 inmates and seven staffers there have tested positive for COVID-19
Federal prison system is releasing nonviolent offenders, older prisoners
Last month, a judge denied Cohen's request for early release due to pandemic
The US Bureau of Prisons informed Cohen that he will be released from the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, and allowed to serve out the remainder of his sentence in home confinement.
As of Thursday, 14 inmates and seven staffers at the complex have tested positive for coronavirus, according to CNN.
Michael Cohen (seen above leaving his Manhattan apartment to begin serving a three-year prison sentence last May) will be freed from the minimum-security prison in Otisville, New York, it was reported on Thursday
Before his release, Cohen will be required to stay in a two-week quarantine on the prison grounds.
Cohen was told on Thursday that his release is pending. He was originally scheduled to remain behind bars until his release date in November 2021.
The federal prison system has recently been freeing older, more vulnerable inmates as well as those convicted of nonviolent crimes due to the ongoing pandemic.
Cohen, who once said he would 'take a bullet' for Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for directing hush payments to pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump.
At least 14 inmates and seven staffers at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York (above) have tested positve for COVID-19. The above image was taken in January 2019
Trump has denied having the encounters.
In March, Cohen pressed to be released early due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hammered New York state and surfaced in prisons around the country.
US District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan rebuffed the request in a scathing order.
'Ten months into his prison term, it's time that Cohen accept the consequences of his criminal convictions for serious crimes that had far reaching institutional harms,' the judge wrote on March 23.
The Bureau of Prisons said that as of Thursday, 451 federal inmates and 280 staffers had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.
Since late March, 17 federal inmates have died of COVID-19.
Last week, Cohen's attorney revealed that Cohen was placed in solitary confinement at the minimum-security prison after another inmate complained about his internet use.
In an email seen by Reuters, Cohen's lawyer Roger Adler said: 'It is my understanding that a verbal dispute over phone use prompted a temporary placement to SHU pending an investigation.
'I do not however know who prompted the altercation, or if the action taken was factually/ regulatory appropriate.'
Cohen was transferred last Wednesday to a Special Housing Unit in a disciplinary section of the prison.
Adler said on Saturday that Cohen had been moved out of solitary confinement on Friday, but did not provide the reason.
The BOP said it does not comment on the confinement conditions of individual inmates.
Prior to the transfer, Cohen had been housed in a minimum-security camp at the facility.
Governor Cuomo extends 'New York Pause' to May 15
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney who has served less than a year of his three-year prison sentence for financial crimes, will be freed because of the coronavirus outbreak, it was reported on Thursday.
Michael Cohen's bombshell testimony accuses President Trump of being a racist, a conman and a cheat
Trump's former lawyer appeared before the House Oversight Committee
Described being present for June 2016 conversation between Trump and Roger Stone where longtime adviser described illicit contact with WikiLeaks
Claimed he witnessed chat between president and Don Jr. that he believes is proof Trump knew about infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians
Says Trump 'lied' about Moscow Trump Tower negotiations
Trump responded that Cohen was 'lying in order to reduce his prison time'
Cohen reveals $35,000 check Trump signed during his presidency as says was reimbursement for hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal
Second check signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization's CFO
A Trump Organization official says Don Jr. was not aware when he signed it that it was part of a plan to reimburse Cohen
Copies of three years of Trump financial statements furnished to Deutsche Bank, presumably to justify ability to repay major loans
Hearing got off to a rocky start when Republicans tried to delay it because Cohen violated rules by not sending his written testimony 24 hours in advance
Ranking Republican claimed Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis, a former Bill Clinton attorney, 'orchestrated' the hearing and persuaded Democrats to hold it
Former longtime Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen unloaded on his former boss in congressional testimony on Wednesday, bringing a pair of 35K checks he cashed as partial reimbursement of 'hush money' he paid to alleged Trump paramours Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
In a hotly anticipated hearing tainted by Cohen's own admission he has lied to Congress in the past, he branded the president a 'racist,' a 'conman' and a 'cheat,' claim he heard Roger Stone tell then-candidate Trump about illicit campaign contacts with WikiLeaks and allege Donald trump Jr. secretly told his father ahead of time about an infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting attended by a Kremlin-tied Russian lawyer.
Like other witnesses in Capitol Hill hearings, Cohen swore an oath to tell the truth. But Cohen has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress during testimony in 2018. DailyMail.com was unable to find another case on Wednesday where a congressional committee devoted a hearing to testimony from someone in that circumstance.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has claimed in interviews that Trump paid Cohen a monthly retainer of $35,000 for legal services, as reimbursement for the campaign-year payoffs to the women, who have said they bedded Trump more than a decade ago. Trump has denied ever being sexually involved with either Daniels, a pornographic actress, or McDougal, a former Playboy mode.
One check provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was signed by Trump himself in August 2017, more than six months into his administration, and issued from what Cohen says is the president's personal account.
The other is from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust – and signed by both Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
A Trump Organization official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr. was unaware when he signed the check that it was part of a repayment plan for Cohen's hugh-money outlay.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, speaking for the first time in a public forum about his experiences related to his criminal conduct and the president's alleged role
Cohen faced immediate questions about his credibility since he is a convicted felon who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress already
Cohen has provided members of Congress with two checks, one signed by the president and the other by his son Donald Jr, which he says was reimbursement for payments meant to keep Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal quiet; President Trump's check was written after he had been president for more than a half-year
The Donald Trump Jr.-signed check was dated in March 2017, and was drawn on a family Trust; A Trump Organization official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Trump Jr. was unaware when he signed it that it was part of a repayment plan for Cohen's hugh-money outlay
The president tweeted a trans-pacific slap at Cohen, torching his credibility as a disbarred former lawyer who lied to Congress and will report to prison in May
Wednesday's hearing opened with Republican Rep. Mark Meadows attempting to delay it for a day, saying Cohen had broken the committee's rules by not giving members 24 hours to review his testimony before delivering it in person.
Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings shot him down, with Democrats overruling the motion.
SKEPTICS HIT CONVICTED LIAR
Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, said Cohen's credibility 'is a legitimate question.' Cummings is a former prosecutor.
'As he has admitted, he has repeatedly lied in the past,' Cummings said.
But he insisted that following two years of denials from Trump, 'the American people have a right to hear the other side. They should watch Mr. Cohen's testimony and make their own judgments.'
For committee Republicans, too, skepticism was the order of the day.
Ranking Republican Jim Jordan called Cohen 'a guy who can't be trusted.'
'It's the first time a convicted perjurer has been brought back to be a star witness in a hearing,' he said during his opening statement, calling the star witness 'a guy who is going to prison in two months for? Lying to Congress.'
Jordan also claimed former Bill Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis, who represents Cohen, organized the hearing. Davis sat behind Cohen in the first row.
Cohen wants to get out from under the shame of a three-year prison term for lying to Congress, and used a return trip to Capitol Hill to bare his soul about everything Trump
Ready for his closeup: Michael Cohen, a former Trump Organization executive and attorney for President Donald Trump, arrived Wednesday to testify in a House hearing to discuss the president's involvement in a hush-money scheme to quiet his alleged mistresses as he ran for the White House in 2016
'This is the Michael Cohen hearing presented by Lanny Davis. That's right: Lanny Davis choreographed the entire thing. The Clintons' best friend!' he marveled.
'He told our committee staff that this was his idea. ... He had to persuade the chairman to actually have it,' Jordan said.
'We have some serious questions about Michael Cohen,' Kentucky Rep. James Comer said Wednesday morning on CNN.
'The fact that he's the sole witness; and the fact that he's already lied once to Congress; he's a convicted felon who was just disbarred this week from the New York Bar,' he said.
'I mean, the credibility factor with Michael Cohen is probably the lowest we've ever seen for a major witness in congressional testimony history.'
Carl Bernstein, the famed Watergate-era journalist, resisted comparing Cohen to John Dean, President Richard Nixon's White House counsel who became a whistleblower in 1973.
'This guy was a flunkie. He was a runner. He was a fixer,' Bernstein said of Cohen. 'Trump always held him in relative contempt.'
The House Oversight Committee hearin room included display boards brought by Republicans seeking to impeach the former Trump fixer's credibility
While the Cohen circus was getting underway in Washington, President Trump was leaving a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam
But in 20 pages of prepared testimony released Tuesday night, Cohen claimed to have inside information that suggested a much more exalted perch in Trumpworld.
THE ROGER STONE SAGA
He blasted his former employer and mentor for an alleged June 2016 conversation with Republican dirty-trickster Roger Stone.
Cohen claims Stone told him that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had told him a 'massive dump' of emails harmful to Hillary Clinton would be released in just a few days.
Stone has claimed he knew nothing about the torrent of emails that would eventually trickle out a month at a time, all hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. He also insists he has had no contact with WikiLeaks.
But U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russian agents stole the materials and used WikiLeaks as a conduit to make them public. Stone, Federal prosecutors have charged Stone, Trump's longtime informal adviser whospolitical monkeywrenching dates back to the Nixon era, with witness tampering and lying to Congress.
'Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange,' Cohen recounts in his prepared testimony, 'and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton's campaign.'
In a statement to reporters, Stone said Wednesday: 'Mr. Cohen's statement is not true.'
Stone is under a gag order in his own federal trial for obstruction of an official proceeding, false statements and witness tampering
Cohen will report to prison in May to serve a three-year sentence for crimes he has admitted to, including lying previously to House investigators.
MICHAEL COHEN'S MOST DAMNING QUOTES ABOUT TRUMP IN HIS OPENING STATEMENT
I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails.
Mr. Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress. That's not how he operates. In conversations we had during the campaign, at the same time I was actively negotiating in Russia and then go out and lie to the American people by saying the same thing. In this way, he was telling me to lie.
Mr Trump made clear to me, through his personal statement to me that we both knew were false and through his lies to the country, that he wanted me to lie.
Yet, last fall I pled guilty in federal courts to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with Individual #1. For the record: Individual #1 is President Donald J. Trump.
Donald Trump is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He has no desire or intention to lead this nation - only to market himself and to build his wealth and power.
A lot of people have asked me about whether Mr. Trump knew about the release of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of time. The answer is yes.
Trump is a racist. The country has seen Mr. Trump court white supremacists and bigots. You have heard him call poorer country 'shitholes.' In private he is even worse. He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a 'shithole.' This was when Barack Obama was President.
Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed among the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.
He asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did. Lying to the First Lady is one of my biggest regrets.
Cohen spoke to the Senate Intelligence Committee for nine hours on Tuesday
Aide: Michael Cohen was accompanied by Lanny Davis, the long-term Clinton advisor who is acting as his personal attorney
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein told DailyMail.com that Cohen – who pleaded guilty to lying to Congress – appeared credible to lawmakers and apologized on Tuesday
As a stunning series of revelations stole much of the media spotlight away from Trump's summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, the president shook his head when a reporter asked him to comment on the controversy.
Instead, the president fired back on Twitter from Hanoi, Vietnam.
'Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also,' Trump tweeted.
'He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!'
Trump called Hillary Clinton 'Crooked Hillary' during their 2016 campaign clashes. Lanny Davis, who represented Bill Clinton during the 1990s Monica Lewinsky scandal, is now one of Cohen's attorneys.
Cohen had two other clients: fellow Republican National Committee deputy finance chairman Elliott Broidy and Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity.
Broidy is reportedly under federal investigation for his alleged role in schemes to sell his influence in Trumpworld, including deals with Chinese and Malaysian companies.
He engaged in his own hush-money scheme, paying $1.6 million to former Playboy Playmate Shera Bechard to cover up a sexual affair.
TRUMP NEVER WANTED THE WHITE HOUSE
Cohen's 20-page statement, dripping with contempt for his former employer, describes Trump as 'is a man who ran for office to make his brand great, not to make our country great. He had no desire or intention to lead this nation – only to market himself and to build his wealth and power.'
Cohen claims the president often said his White House campaign 'was going to be the 'greatest infomercial in political history.'
'He never expected to win the primary. He never expected to win the general election. The campaign – for him – was always a marketing opportunity,' according to the disgraced former attorney who lost his license to practice law on Tuesday.
Carson: This is a media witch hunt, Obama was never vetted
Cohen also played a role in hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels (left) and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal (right)
'I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump's illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat. He was a presidential candidate who knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails,' Cohen says.
THE TRUMP TOWER MEETING
Cohen also describes being present and hearing cryptic comments by Donald Trump Jr. to his father in early June of 2016 that Cohen believes referenced a Trump Tower meeting with Russians
'I recalled Don Jr. leaning over to his father and speaking in a low voice, which I could clearly hear, and saying: 'The meeting is all set.' I remember Mr. Trump saying, 'Ok good … let me know,' according to Cohen.
June is when Don Jr., former campaign chair Paul Manafort, and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton.
32 months later, it's impossible to verify if Don Jr. was discussing another matter.
The president's eldest son mocked Cohen Wednesday on Twitter, responding to a conservative who noted that Congressional Democrats had invited a high-profile witness to testify after he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.
'This time it’s different,' he tweeted, adding an emoji depicting an eye-roll.