Michael Cohen leaves the Manhattan Attorney’s Office in New York City on March 19, 2021.
Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for ex-President Donald Trump, on Monday called on a federal judge to suspend his criminal sentence as the judge parses his request to declare satisfied his punishment by job and education loans received in jail.
The request came because Cohen is expected to meet separately for the ninth time later this week with investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Cyrus Vance Jr., who are conducting an extensive criminal investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization, a source with the case said CNBC.
Cohen’s motion for a verdict has nothing to do with his collaboration with Vance’s investigation into the most serious criminal prosecution Trump currently faces.
Vance is known to be investigating how the Trump firm recorded hush money payments that Cohen made possible for two women in 2016 and is investigating Cohen’s allegations to Congress that the Trump organization artificially manipulated the valuation of real estate assets for financial gain .
In a letter to US District Judge John Koetl, Cohen wrote that his daily detention in Manhattan continues to be “a day Mr. Cohen is illegally detained”.
Cohen wrote that he wanted Koetl “to order his release pending a decision” as to whether his criminal conviction has already been fulfilled.
He also wrote: “The impetus for this request stems from the known fact that the Bureau of Prisons is walking through these petitions noticeably slowly in order to discuss resolve, particularly on matters such as the one before Your Honor, in which the petitioner is released from custody will be 7 months. “
If Koetl approves this motion, Cohen could freely leave his Upper East Side domicile, at least until the judge finally decides on his legal offer to declare his sentence complete.
Cohen, guilty of tax evasion, illegal campaign contributions and making a false declaration to Congress, was released last spring after serving just over a year of his three-year prison sentence on coronavirus concerns would have.
In his pending petition to Koetl in Manhattan federal court, Cohen argued that his sentence was completed because of classes and assignments he completed in prison, which bought him time under the First Step Act signed by Trump. Cohen argues that its last possible release date is May 29th.
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Cohen told CNBC, “This letter to Judge Koetl and my underlying Habeas Corpus letter seeks judicial intervention to compel the Bureau of Prisons to give me what I am entitled to under the terms of the First Step Act . No more and no less. “”
And Cohen added, “This petition has nothing to do with my ongoing work with the prosecutor [New York state] Attorney General or any other investigation I am involved in. “
New York attorney general Letitia James is conducting a civil investigation into the Trump Organization that, like Vance’s criminal investigation, examines whether the company has misrepresented the value of the same real estate assets at different times, benefiting from lower tax expenses and insurance costs if Ratings were lower than stated for loan purposes.
The federal prosecutor argued that Cohen was not entitled to any time credits he had identified for any work or course he had identified, “largely because Cohen did not have a need to reduce his risk of relapse in any of the areas in which he took courses or work.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York who opposed Cohen’s offer declined to comment on Monday.
In his letter on Monday, Cohen also drew Koetl’s attention to a filing in another case involving a federal inmate in which prosecutors apparently dropped two “misguided and flawed defenses” that they had used in Cohen’s case.
That defense is that Cohen’s claim for a judgment from Koetl is not legally ripe because the First Step Act has not been fully enforced and because he has failed to exhaust the administrative complaints to the US Bureau of Prisons.
Cohen began working with Vance’s probe before going to jail and continued speaking with investigators while he was incarcerated and after his release to detention center.
Cohen last met with top officials in Vance’s office in mid-March.