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Probation officer says Michael Cohen told him he was writing book ‘no matter what happens’

A probation officer has said Michael Cohen told him he was writing his tell-all book ‘no matter what happens’ and told him to ‘say hello to Mr Barr’, as a New York court casts doubt on claims he was thrown back in prison to stop its publication.   

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer filed a lawsuit Monday against Attorney General William Barr and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) director, alleging he was unjustly imprisoned to prevent him finishing his bombshell book criticizing the president.

Cohen’s memoir promises to go into ‘graphic details’ about Trump’s behavior ‘behind closed doors’ and reveal how he used ‘anti-Semitic remarks’ against Jewish people  and ‘racist remarks’ against Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. 

It comes hot on the heels of explosive books from former national security adviser John Bolton and Trump’s niece Mary Trump – both of which the president tried and failed to block the release of. 

But court documents filed in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Wednesday have hit back at Cohen’s claims he was imprisoned in retaliation for writing a book, saying it ‘is not supported by the evidence’.

The documents filed by Barr’s attorney Audrey Strauss claim Cohen was actually denied house arrest because he was ‘antagonistic’ to probation officers and ‘took issue’ with the terms of the agreement. 

‘The evidence instead shows that Petitioner, who had been released from prison on furlough, was remanded in custody on July 9, 2002, because he was antagonistic during a meeting with probation officers at which he was supposed to sign the agreement that would have allowed him to complete the remaining portion of his criminal sentence in home confinement,’ the document reads. 

It states he refused to sign the agreement over his house arrest and disagreed with the terms of his release, including that he must not contact convicted felons, that all employment must be approved by the BOP and that he must wear an electronic tag.

The decision to hold Cohen in prison also came from a probation officer who ‘had no knowledge’ he was writing a book and who revealed the convict was going to spill his secrets ‘no matter what happens’, the records state.  

Adam Pakula, the probation officer assigned to his case, said in a supporting document that Cohen told him ‘he was writing a book “no matter what happens”‘ and told him to ‘say hello to “Mr. Barr”‘ – referring to the Attorney General. 

‘While I was aware that Cohen was a high-profile inmate, at the time I drafted the [Federal Location Monitoring] Agreement I was not aware that Cohen was writing a book,’ said Pakula. 

Cohen filed the lawsuit late Monday in Manhattan federal court, alleging his First Amendment rights were violated when he was returned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, on July 9. 

It offers a first glimpse into the secrets plans to spill in his long-anticipated book, which he started behind bars. 

‘Mr. Cohen’s book describes Mr. Cohen’s first-hand experiences with Mr. Trump, and it provides graphic details about the President’s behavior behind closed doors,’ the lawsuit says.

‘For example, the narrative describes pointedly certain anti-Semitic remarks against prominent Jewish people and virulently racist remarks against such Black leaders as President Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.’ 

The book ‘will rely upon and publish numerous previously unknown anecdotes, supported by documentary evidence,’ the lawsuit states. 

Cohen spent hours behind bars writing the memoir before he was released from prison on furlough in May as part of an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus in federal prisons which had fast become hotbeds for the deadly virus.

He had served only a year of his three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.

Cohen’s campaign finance charges related to his efforts to arrange payouts during the 2016 presidential race to stop porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal from airing claims they had affairs with Trump.  

On July 9, Cohen was thrown back behind bars after federal officials said he refused to sign an agreement of his home confinement including that he would not publish a book until he completes his sentence.  

This came one week after Cohen tweeted on July 2 saying he planned to release the book ahead of the November presidential election. 

‘I am close to completion of my book… anticipated release date will be late September,’ he tweeted.   

Monday’s lawsuit said Cohen was taken back into federal custody because he made it clear he planned to release the book including his crimes related to ‘lying to Congress on behalf of Mr. Trump and committing campaign finance violations on behalf of Mr. Trump’ in the lead-up to the election. 

‘In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, he intends to tell the American people about Mr. Trump’s personality and proclivities, his private and professional affairs, and his personal and business ethics,’ according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said US probation officers, working on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons and its director, Michael Carvajal, demanded of Cohen that he agree not to speak to or through any media, including by publishing a book.  

The lawsuit also reveals that Trump used his personal attorney Charles Harder to try to gag Cohen in April.

Harder, who led the Trump family’s failed attempt to gag Mary Trump earlier this month, wrote to Cohen on April 30, the lawsuit reveals.

It says he sent ‘a cease and desist’ to one of Cohen’s attorneys, claiming Cohen had sign a non-disclosure agreement when working with Trump.

‘ Mr. Cohen believes that he never signed such an NDA,’ the lawsuit says.

‘Though Mr. Harder purported to attach the NDA to the letter, no NDA was in fact attached. Even after Mr. Cohen’s attorney followed up to request that Mr. Harder send the purported NDA, he failed to do so.’   

Cohen has remained in solitary confinement since he was taken to Otisville, the lawsuit said.

It said his health has also suffered, with his blood pressure spiking to critical levels, ‘leading to severe headaches, shortness of breath and anxiety.’

This marks the third explosive book that promises to reveal Trump’s deepest White House secrets after Bolton’s ‘The Room Where It Happened’ was released last month.

Mary Trump’s ‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man’ was released on July 14 and sold 950,000 copies on its date of sale.  

Trump had tried to stop both books from coming out, alleging that Bolton had revealed classified information and that Mary Trump had violated a nondisclosure agreement.  

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