Michael Cohen, convicted felon and onetime lawyer to former PresidentÂ Donald Trump, has notified the Federal Bureau of Prisons that he plans to sue for $20 million, arguing that he was illegally returned to prison last year in retaliation for writing a critical book about his former boss.
Cohenâ€™s lawyers are also preparing a second claim alleging that then-Attorney General William Barr and Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal violated Cohenâ€™s First Amendment right to free speech by returning him to prison, CNBC reports.
In May 2020, amid the COVID-19 crisis, Cohen was released from prison to home detentionÂ midway through his three-year sentence for campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress.
The claim argues that government officials committed â€œfalse arrest, false imprisonment, abuse of process, wrongful confinement, and retaliationâ€ against Cohen for making critical statements about Trump and writing a book about him.
Cohen, 54, claims he experienced â€œemotional pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of freedomâ€ as a result of his reincarceration, CNBC reports.
A Manhattan federal court judge ordered Cohenâ€™s release from prison again after he spent more than two weeks behind bars. The judge ruled that sending Cohen back to prison â€œwas retaliatory in response to Cohen intending to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book critical of the President and to discuss the book on social media.â€
Cohenâ€™s attorney Jeffrey Levine warned in a statement that such â€unacceptable and constitutionally violating behavior could be directed against any of us.â€
The government has six months to respond to Cohenâ€™s claim. If it fails to respond, Cohen can then file a lawsuit against the government and other defendants.
The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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