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NEW YORK, July 23, 2020 — U.S. District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein today ordered the release of Michael Cohen to home confinement. Ruling from the bench, the federal judge found that the government violated the First Amendment by sending Cohen back to prison in retaliation for his plans to publish a book critical of the president prior to the November election.
The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and attorneys with law firm Perry Guha LLP.
“This order is a victory for the First Amendment,” said Danya Perry of Perry Guha LLP, who argued on behalf of Mr. Cohen at today’s hearing. “The First Amendment does not allow the government to block Mr. Cohen from publishing a book critical of the president as a condition of his release to home confinement. This principle transcends politics. We are gratified that the rule of law prevails.”
The court ordered both parties in the case to renegotiate the terms of Cohen’s home confinement within a week.
“Today’s important ruling recognizes that individuals retain their right to speak even when they are incarcerated,” said Vera Eidelman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. “This is a victory for the First Amendment rights of people in prison, and for the public’s ability to hear from a group of people that is too often silenced in our society.”
Additional information about the case is here: https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/aclu-files-first-amendment-challenge-against-michael-cohens-retaliatory-imprisonment.