United States District Judge William H. Pauley III has denied a special request filed by former attorney Michael Cohen, who once served as President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer but is now serving three years in prison for multiple crimes, including campaign finance violations and lying to congress.
Fox News reported that Cohen asked Judge Pauley to consider alternative options for fulfilling the remainder of his three-year sentence, including an early release option and a home confinement option, explaining that the coronavirus can easily spread within prisons.
In his response, Judge Pauley eliminated both possibilities and instead blasted Cohen for the request, and suggested he was leveraging a public health crisis to try and “inject himself into the news cycle.”
“Apparently searching for a new argument to justify a modification of his sentence to home confinement, Cohen now raises the specter of COVID-19,” wrote Pauley in his Tuesday response, reported the news agency. “That Cohen would seek to single himself out for release to home confinement appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle.”
Judge Pauley also highlighted Cohen’s previous attempt to score an early release — a cooperation effort during which prosecutors came to believe that Cohen was lying, according to The Associated Press.
“Unable to articulate how he advanced any investigation or prosecution, Cohen and his surrogates make extravagant allegations that the Department of Justice — from the Attorney General down to line prosecutors — acted in bad faith,” wrote Judge Pauley. “Those ad hominem attacks lack any substance and do not trigger the right to remedy or a hearing before this Court.”
As such, Judge Pauley wrote that it was time for Cohen to “accept the consequences of his criminal convictions for serious crimes that had far reaching institutional harms,” and that he disbarred lawyer should stop trying to score early release, reported CNN.
As The Daily Wire has previously reported, cities across the country have advocated for early-release plans to free up space in jails.
“People who are incarcerated in jail are already exposed to an unsafe environment. The cramped and unsanitary conditions in jail put the older or immunocompromised population at a much greater risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus,” said San Francisco public defender Manohar Raju.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told Fox News on Monday that the county had already released 1,700 non-violent inmates. According to CNBC, New York City has plans to release 300 non-violent prisoners from Rikers Island, and The New York Times reported that New Jersey has plans to release 1,000 non-violent prisoners as well.
The New York City order can only apply to inmates who were convicted of misdemeanor charges and who have less than a year remaining in their sentence, reported CNBC.
The New Jersey order can only apply to inmates who were convicted of violating probation or other low-level crimes, or inmates who were found guilty in municipal courts, reported The Times.
The district attorney’s office for San Diego, California, has announced that similar measures will be considered for “individuals arrested for low-level, non-violent crimes who normally would have been released if the court was open or can’t afford to post jail,” reported NBC San Diego.