Federal judge finds for First Amendment in Cohen prior restraint case

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will return to home confinement after a federal judge ordered his release from prison where he was returned after it surfaced that he intended to publish a book critical of the president. The federal government ended Cohen’s home confinement when he refused to sign away his rights to talk about Trump or publish a book critical of him. (NBC News, July 23, 2020, by Pete Williams and Tom Winter)

The Bureau of Prisons said there was no retaliation in returning Cohen to prison, that Cohen’s refusal to sign away his rights to publish a book did not figure in their decision to end his home confinement. Federal judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled to the contrary, “I make the finding that the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory. And it’s retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others.” (The New York Times, July 23, 2020, by Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer)

For related FAC coverage, click here, here, and here.

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