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U.S. Backs Down, Allowing Michael Cohen to Write Trump Tell-All Book

Michael D. Cohen now will be allowed to finish his tell-all book about President Trump after the government said on Thursday that it had given up a legal battle to prevent him from expressing himself on television, on social media or in books while he serves a prison sentence at home.

The government, writing to a federal judge in Manhattan, said it would not challenge a ruling last week that cleared the way for Mr. Cohen, who once was Mr. Trump’s lawyer and fixer, to publish a memoir about his former boss before the election.

The government said it had agreed to omit a condition in Mr. Cohen’s home-confinement agreement that would have banned him from any contact with the media, including making posts on social media, appearing on television or publishing a book.

Federal prosecutors wrote to the judge that the government had agreed with Mr. Cohen’s lawyers that “a specific provision” regarding Mr. Cohen’s “contact with the media is not necessary.” They also said they would not further litigate or appeal the judge’s ruling.

Mr. Cohen was let of out of prison in May because of the coronavirus and was expected to serve the rest of his three-year sentence at home, but officials sent him back to custody after he balked at signing the agreement.

The judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein of Federal District Court, ruled last Thursday that the decision to return Mr. Cohen to prison amounted to retaliation by the government and ordered him to be released again into home confinement.

“I make the finding that the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory,” Judge Hellerstein said. “And it’s retaliatory because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book and to discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others.”

Mr. Cohen has said that his book, which he had been working on in the prison library while serving his sentence at a minimum-security prison camp in Otisville, N.Y., will give a glimpse into his “firsthand experiences with Mr. Trump.”

In a lawsuit, Mr. Cohen said his book would paint Mr. Trump as a racist and offer revealing details about “the president’s behavior behind closed doors.”

“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 lawsuit said.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, E. Danya Perry, declined to comment on Thursday; the Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment. James Margolin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, said, “We will let the office’s filing speak for itself.”

Mr. Cohen, who once bragged that he would take a bullet for Mr. Trump, pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and other crimes.

When he entered his plea, Mr. Cohen implicated the president, telling the court that Mr. Trump had directed him during the 2016 election to arrange hush-money payments to two women who claimed they had had affairs with Mr. Trump. The president has denied those allegations.

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