Cohen is currently locked up at FCI Otisville in New York after pleading guilty to numerous charges, including campaign finance fraud and a lie to Congress. He will remain in quarantine for 14 days before his release. Federal statistics show that 14 inmates and seven prison staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.
More than 100 federal inmates and correctional officers are positive for COVID-19
After his release, Cohen will serve the remainder of his sentence at home, according to a Justice Department official and another person familiar with the case. They were unable to discuss publicly the release of Cohen and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Prison lawyers and congressional leaders have been pressing the Justice Department for weeks to release at-risk inmates before a possible epidemic, arguing that public health boards should stay six feet (1.8 meters) from other people are almost impossible behind bars.
Attorney General William Barr Ordered The Prison Office Earlier This Month To Increase The Use Of Home Imprisonment And To Speed Up The Release Of Eligible High-Risk Inmates From Three Prisons Identified As Points coronavirus infections. Otisville is not one of these facilities.
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As of Thursday, 473 federal inmates and 279 staff from the Bureau of Prisons had tested positive for coronavirus in institutions across the United States. Eighteen detainees have died since the end of March.
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Many federal inmates have sought to confine their homes as the number of coronavirus cases increases in the federal penitentiary system, but advocates have accused the Prison Office of moving too slowly to release the inmates. The Prisons Office said it had transferred more than 1,000 detainees to solitary confinement since March 26, when Barr issued a directive to increase its use in late March. The agency said it was a “tremendous logistics lift that has been accomplished by pooling all of the BOP’s resources.”
Justice Ministry official said Barr told senior officials at the Prisons Office when he first issued directives that they should scrupulously apply the same criteria to all detainees and not give anyone special treatment .
US federal prisons will lock up inmates for 14 days amidst spread of coronavirus
The Prisons Office said on Friday that it was transferring approximately 111 detainees – most of whom are likely to be isolated or on leave – from Otisville detention camp to the institution’s medium security prison. so that they can start a quarantine period, which would be necessary before their publication, because their files are examined.
A federal judge denied Cohen’s attempt to secure early home release after serving 10 months in prison and said in a judgment released earlier this month that “this seems to be just another effort to s ‘inject into the news cycle’. But the Prisons Office can take steps to transfer him to his home without a court order.
Cohen, 53, started serving his sentence last May and was due to be released from prison in November 2021.
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Other prominent detainees have also been released as the number of coronavirus cases increases. Last week, a judge ordered Michael Avenatti – the now famous lawyer representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against Trump – to be temporarily released from a federal prison in New York and to stay with a friend in Los Angeles. Avenatti said he was at high risk of getting coronavirus because he recently had pneumonia, and his cellmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan was pulled out due to flu-like symptoms.
Former New York State Senate leader Dean Skelos, 72, who was also serving a sentence in Otisville, is also expected to be released from home prison shortly after being tested positive for coronavirus, said Wednesday prosecutors to a judge.
CNN first reported that Cohen was returned to house arrest.
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A spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment.
The Prisons Office said on Friday that the death of a case manager working at USP Atlanta was considered the first potential coronavirus death of a federal prison staff member. Robin Grubbs, who has worked at the BOP since 2007, was found dead at his home on Tuesday and posthumously tested for coronavirus, according to a spokesman for the agency. Authorities said she last worked in Atlanta prison on April 10 and appeared asymptomatic. A cause of death is undetermined.
© 2020 The Canadian Press