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Michael Cohen is suing the US government for $20 million, claiming the Trump DOJ returned him to prison because he refused to stop writing about his ex-boss

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michael cohen
Michael Cohen leaving a federal court in New York. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
  • Michael Cohen was imprisoned in 2018 but was allowed in May 2020 to serve out his sentence at home.

  • Two months later, Cohen was returned to prison.

  • Cohen is now suing the US, saying the Trump DOJ punished him for writing a book about Trump.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Michael Cohen has sued the US government for $20 million in damages, accusing Donald Trump's administration of sending him back to prison for writing a critical book about the former president.

Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2018 after he was convicted of a string of crimes, including lying to Congress.

Following an outbreak of COVID-19 at Cohen's prison in upstate New York, Cohen was released on furlough in May 2020 and permitted to spend the remainder of his sentence under home confinement in Manhattan.

However, during negotiations about the conditions of his confinement in July, Cohen was returned to prison after refusing to agree to the terms of his imprisonment.

Cohen had refused sign an agreement forbidding him from working on his book about Trump, Lanny Davis, a Cohen associate, told Mother Jones.

Cohen's book, "Disloyal," was eventually published in September and contained scathing anecdotes about Trump. In one, Cohen described catching Trump staring at his teenager daughter, and asking: "When did she get so hot?"

The Trump Organization reportedly sent Cohen a cease-and-desist letter in prison, claiming the writing of the book violated Cohen's nondisclosure agreement with the company.

While back in prison, Cohen appealed government's decision, and a judge granted his release in late July. Cohen has been under house arrest since, and is due to complete is sentence this November.

On Friday, Cohen sued the US government for $20 million in damages, NBC News reported.

In the complaint, Cohen said he had endured "emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of freedom" after being returned to prison, NBC News reported.

Cohen says government officials conducted "false arrest, false imprisonment, abuse of process, wrongful confinement, and retaliation" against Cohen, according to the outlet.

Cohen's attorney, Jeffrey Levine, said in a statement carried by NBC News: "Mr. Cohen was the personal attorney to the President of the US and if he could be thrown in jail for desiring to write a critical book of the President one's imagination need not go far before realizing that such unacceptable and constitutionally violated conduct could be directed at any of us."

"That is not hyperbole and not acceptable."

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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