WASHINGTON, DC: Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, was released from a federal prison in New York state on Thursday due to concerns he could be exposed to the novel coronavirus there, two sources familiar with the case said.
Cohen, 53, had completed a bit more than a year of a three-year sentence for his role in paying hush money to two women - pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal - who said they had sexual relationships with Trump, as well as financial crimes and lying to Congress.
He is expected to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Cohen had been eligible for release from prison in November 2021.
Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from a federal prison in Pennsylvania last week to finish his sentence at home due to health concerns related to the coronavirus.
A lawyer for Cohen in March said the federal Bureau of Prisons has been "demonstrably incapable of safeguarding and treating BOP inmates who are obliged to live in close quarters and are at an enhanced risk of catching coronavirus."
US Attorney General William Barr said last month the bureau was facing emergency conditions due to the fast-spreading pathogen, paving the way for the release of certain inmates into home confinement.
Trump and his aides have denied that the Republican president had relationships with Daniels and McDougal.
Cohen, who once said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, later turned on his former boss and cooperated with Democratic-led congressional inquiries. Trump has called Cohen a "rat." Cohen has called Trump a "racist," a "con man" and "a cheat."
Cohen pleaded guilty to the charges that led to his imprisonment. They also included lying to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.