President Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen arrives at his home in New York City on Friday. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
July 24 (UPI) -- Officials at a federal prison in upstate New York released Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Friday, one day after a judge ordered him to be placed on home confinement.
Cohen arrived at his New York City home Friday afternoon after leaving Federal Correctional Institution Otisville. He was tested for the novel coronavirus before he left the prison.
"I just spoke with my client as he left FCI Otisville," said Danya Perry, Cohen's attorney. "He is extremely gratified that the court upheld his fundamental constitutional right to speak freely and publicly, and he looks forward to doing exactly that."
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan ordered Cohen's release Thursday, agreeing with his attorneys that his return to prison amounted to government retaliation.
Cohen, who had been out of prison and on home arrest because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was taken back into custody earlier this month during a hearing to arrange the terms of his release. He was furloughed from prison in May due to underlying health conditions that put him at greater risk should he contract COVID-19.
The American Civil Liberties Union and a New York law firm filed suit this week calling for Cohen's release, arguing that his rearrest amounted to retaliation for his plans to publish a book about the president.
Hellerstein said he was troubled by a clause in the agreement that asked Cohen to "avoid glamorizing or bringing publicity to your status as a sentenced inmate serving a custodial term in the community."
Federal prosecutors argued that Cohen was rearrested because he became "combative" after refusing to sign the agreement, and they said prison officials weren't aware of his plans to write a book.
Cohen, 53, is serving a three-year sentence after pleading guilty to coordinating hush-money payments to two women, including adult film performer Stormy Daniels, who said they had extramarital affairs with Trump.
Don Jacobson contributed to this report.