The judge agreed with arguments that the government sent Cohen back to prison as payback for a book he was writing about the president.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said Cohen’s First Amendment rights were violated when he was ordered back to prison on July 9th after probation authorities said he refused to sign a form banning him from publishing the book or communicating publicly in other manners.
“I’ve never seen such a clause in 21 years of being a judge and sentencing people and looking at terms of supervised release,” the judge said during a telephone conference. “Why would the Bureau of Prisons ask for something like this … unless there was a retaliatory purpose?”
Prosecutors declined through a spokesperson to comment on Hellerstein’s ruling.
In 2018, Cohen was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.
Cohen served one year and was released in May to complete his sentence at home.
He has been in isolation at an Otisville N.Y. prison camp, quarantined while prison authorities ensure he does not have coronavirus.
Cohen will be release to home confinement Friday afternoon, after taking a COVID-19 test.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)