He certainly pulled out all stops to avoid going to prison in the first place. Now Michael Cohen wants to use the coronavirus pandemic to get out of his three-year sentence early. In a letter to a federal judge yesterday, his attorney argued that the Bureau of Prisons could not prevent the amplification of the coronavirus pandemic through its population, and therefore Cohen should work from home instead, so to speak:
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, is requesting to serve the remainder of his three-year prison sentence at home due to unsafe prison conditions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to District Judge William Pauley for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, Roger Bennet Adler, Cohen’s attorney, argued that Cohen’s sentence should be modified “as a consequence of the Bureau of Prison being demonstrably incapable of safeguarding and treating B.O.P. inmates who are obliged to live in close quarters and are at an enhanced risk of catching coronavirus.” …
In his letter to the judge, Cohen’s lawyer attached blog posts and articles highlighting hygiene concerns and pointing to other states that have recently taken steps to shrink their prison population in order to protect inmates and those who work in prisons from the deadly outbreak.
The Los Angeles county sheriff, for example, is releasing people from prison early and is asking officers to cite and release people when possible, instead of arresting them.
That last point seems inaccurate, although that might just be careless reporting from NBC News rather than an error by Cohen’s attorney. A sheriff does not have the authority to release inmates from prisons early, not once they have been sentenced in court. Sheriffs generally control jails, where minor sentences are served and defendants held before trial. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is indeed taking the actions cited at its jails and with its deputies, which is as far as his writ runs, although Victoria Taft is not happy about it at all. Why, she wonders, isn’t the sheriff more concerned about “socially distancing” criminals from law-abiding citizens?