Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s one-time attorney and fixer, has filed a lawsuit against the former president,Former Attorney General and federal prison officials William Barr, alleging his prison sentence was “weaponized” to punish him for writing a critical book about Trump.
The suit, filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court, claims that Cohen’s home confinement, which was instituted amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year, was revoked as alleged “retaliation” for the book he was writing about his experiences with Trump. Cohen was placed in isolation for 16 days, according to the lawsuit.
Cohen’s suit also characterizes the efforts made to quash the book as just “one instance in a long line of retaliatory measures” taken by Trump, his family and associates, “in the weaponization of his administration against his enemies.” The lawsuit noted similar attempts to block books by former National Security Adviser John Bolton and Trump’s niece Mary Trump.
Cohen was freed from prison and moved to his home in May 2020. He was then sent back to prison after refusing to sign an arrangement that would have stopped him publishing any book or social media posts.
Cohen was released from prison less than three weeks later by the U.S. District Court Alvin HellersteinHe ordered his return to prison to be returned to the home of his parents. Hellerstein said his imprisonment was “retaliatory in response to Cohen desiring to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book critical of the president — and to discuss the book on social media.”
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress, campaign finance violations and other offences. He served his sentence last month.
His lawsuit seeks damages for “extreme physical and emotional harm” and violations of his First Amendment rights.
Trump, Barr, and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons are yet to reply to the suit.