A federal judge dismissed Michael Cohen’s retaliation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and others alleging he was sent back to prison because he was outspokenly critical of the ex-president.
District Judge Lewis Liman was empathetic to Cohen’s position but said Supreme Court precedent bars him from allowing the case to move forward.
Cohen alleged in his lawsuit that Trump, former Attorney General William Barr and others put him back in jail to prevent him from promoting his upcoming book while under home confinement.
Trump’s former personal attorney was serving the remainder of his sentence for lying to Congress and campaign violations at home, due to Covid-19 concerns, when he started a social media campaign in summer 2020. When he reported to the courthouse to finalize his transition to home confinement, Cohen objected to many of the conditions and he was taken into custody, spending 16 days in solitary confinement.
Cohen sued, alleging the Justice Department, under Barr, had retaliated against him because he was planning to write a tell-all book about Trump. A different federal judge agreed, and Cohen was released to home confinement in July 2020.
Since then, Cohen has released his book, launched a podcast and frequently appears on cable TV from his apartment to bash the former president.
Last November, Cohen was officially released from his three-year prison sentence, having served the last year-plus of it from his Park Avenue apartment. At the time, he said he had received three years of supervised release and planned to continue to work with law enforcement to “ensure that others are held responsible for their dirty deeds and that no one is ever believed to be above the law.”
The next month, he filed his complaint against Trump and Barr, among others.
Cohen said he disagrees with the judge’s ruling.
“Granting this motion prevents me from obtaining documents that would expose what happens when you have a corrupt president who weaponizes the DOJ through a complicit Attorney General,” Cohen said in a statement. “At every turn I have been silenced or derailed in my efforts to expose the unethical and unconstitutional tactics used against me by the previous administration. Despite all this, I will not be deterred in continuing my journey of speaking truth to power.”
This story has been updated with additional details.