Michael Cohen allowed to publish Trump tell-all book under new agreement

The deal came after a judge ruled the government improperly retaliated against Cohen when it sent him back to prison following his release on medical furlough.
Image: Judge Orders Michael Cohen Released From Prison
Michael Cohen, President Trump's former attorney arrives at his Park Avenue home after being released from federal prison on July 24, 2020 in New York.Jeenah Moon / Getty Images

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By Tom Winter and Rich Schapiro

Michael Cohen is free to speak to the media and write a tell-all book about President Donald Trump while under home confinement, according to an agreement he reached with federal authorities filed in court Thursday.

The deal came a week after a federal judge ruled the government improperly retaliated against Cohen when it sent him back to prison following his release on medical furlough.

Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, was taken back into custody earlier this month after he balked at restrictions on his ability to interact with the media and publish a book on Trump that he wrote from jail.

But the deal Cohen reached with the Justice Department strips away those restrictions, paving the way for him to publish a book he has said includes "graphic and unflattering details" about Trump's behavior.

“There shall be no specific media provision governing [Cohen’s] home confinement,” says the agreement filed by federal prosecutors.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cohen began serving a three-year prison sentence last year after having pleaded guilty to what a federal judge called a "veritable smorgasbord" of criminal conduct, including making secret payments to women who claimed they had had affairs with Trump, lying to Congress about the president’s business dealings with Russia and failing to report millions of dollars in income.

He was released in May as part of a nationwide program allowing federal inmates to be transferred to other prisons or confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A week after tweeting that he was finishing a tell-all book about Trump, Cohen was told by a probation officer that he would have to agree to a complete ban on speaking in public, including by publishing a book, as a condition of continued home confinement, according to court documents.

He was asked to sign a form that included this provision: "No engagement of any kind with the media, including print, tv, film, books, or any other form of media/news. Prohibition from all social media platforms."

The form said it was intended "to avoid glamorizing or bringing publicity to your status as a sentenced inmate serving a custodial term in the community."

"I've never seen such a clause in 21 years of being a judge and sentencing people," U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein said. "How can I take any other inference but that it was retaliatory?"

Cohen was once again released from custody last week. He’s slated to be released from home confinement in November 2021.

In the agreement filed in court, the Justice Department says Cohen will have his home confinement monitored by a residential reentry center rather than the U.S. Probation Office.