Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to get early prison release amid coronavirus fears

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney to President Donald Trump, is set for an early release from a New York federal prison due to concerns about the spread of the deadly coronavirus, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges that included campaign-finance violations for paying hush money to women who claimed to have had sex with Trump and for lying to Congress, was scheduled for release in 2021.

Instead, Cohen will be allowed to serve out the remainder of his sentence at home following a 14-day quarantine period. Cohen has been serving his term at a facility in Otisville, New York, where 14 inmates and seven guards have been infected with the virus, said the person familiar with the matter but is not authorized to speak publicly. The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment

With infections mounting, the federal Bureau of Prisons has been moving to reduce the population of non-violent offenders to reduce the risk to inmates and corrections officers. So far, the virus has claimed the lives of 18 inmates.

Cohen, also known as Trump's all-around fixer, was sentenced in December 2018 and was the first of the president's inner circle to head to prison.

The pugnacious New York lawyer, who has since been disbarred, pleaded guilty to coordinating payoffs to buy the silence of adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The women said they had sexual affairs with Trump before he was elected. Cohen insisted he acted at the direction of Trump, who has denied the affairs.

Cohen "thought being Donald Trump's lawyer made him a 'big man,'" a court filing states. But he "now realizes as he walks the Otisville (prison) Camp paths, that he, in fact, 'sold his soul,' and foolishly frittered away his integrity."

Trump has accused Cohen of lying about him in order to win leniency for his own crimes, which also included tax evasion charges unrelated to the president.

Manhattan federal prosecutors argued before and during Cohen's sentencing that he sought to cooperate and provide information about some issues, but not others. They refused to accept partial offers, arguing all cooperators must come clean about the full extent of all crimes they know about.

Nonetheless, Cohen argued in a separate legal affirmation that he voluntarily cooperated with federal and state authorities, as well as congressional committees, from the time of his sentencing until he surrendered to begin his prison sentence last year.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus fears spring ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen from prison