Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen will be released on Monday, after serving a three-year sentence split between house confinement and federal prison for tax evasion and campaign finance violations.
Mr Cohen, 55, who served as the vice-president of the Trump Organisation and Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, pleaded guilty in August 2018 to eight charges, including campaign finance violation, tax fraud and bank fraud. In November that year, he entered another guilty plea for lying to Congress. He was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2018, and debarred by the New York Supreme Court in 2019.
“I am done Sunday night,” Mr Cohen told Jeff Pegues in an interview on CBS News podcast America: Changed Forever on Saturday. “Monday first thing in the morning I will be taking myself down to 500, Pearl Street, where I will be bringing my release papers to, I’m not 100 per cent sure which floor, have them executed and then I am released.”
“I am extremely close and I am extremely thankful that I will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving out of my home,” Mr Cohen said. “But I have done 18 months in home confinement which is very difficult.”
Mr Cohen reported to federal prison in May 2019 but was released in May 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns. He was told to serve the remainder of his sentence at home during the coronavirus pandemic. He was taken back to prison briefly in July 2020 after his conditions of home confinement were refused.
A few weeks later, he was sent back to home confinement after he filed a lawsuit alleging that he had been unjustly re-imprisoned. A federal judge ruled that his re-imprisonment in July 2020 was government retaliation for Mr Cohen balking at a proposed provision of home confinement that would have severely restricted his public communications.
The former president’s attorney said he had kept himself busy with his podcasts, writing and by going on walks. “The most important thing is that you actually keep yourself busy, that you schedule yourself,” Mr Cohen said. “I’m just trying to keep myself busy until I’m free to really start my life all over again.”
Mr Cohen had admitted to sending hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy playmate Karen McDougal for their alleged affairs with the former president. He also admitted to lying to lawmakers about his efforts to secure financing from the Russian government for a Trump development project in Moscow. He was ordered to pay nearly $2m in fines, forfeitures and restitution.
After his sentencing in 2018, Mr Cohen had said that it was his “blind loyalty” to Mr Trump that led him “to choose a path of darkness over light”.
Mr Cohen’s association with the former president started in 2006 after Mr Trump’s successful stint on the television show The Apprentice. He served as Mr Trump’s personal attorney between 2006 and 2018, and was considered to be a close ally of the former president.
In September 2020, he released a “tell-all” book about Mr Trump called Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J Trump.