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Michael Cohen blasts ruling tossing his lawsuit alleging Trump weaponized the Justice Department to lock him up as he weighs appeal

A composite image of Michael Cohen and Donald Trump.
Michael Cohen and Donald Trump.
  • A judge dismissed Michael Cohen's lawsuit against Donald Trump and the DOJ for locking him up.
  • A separate judge found the Justice Department's move to put Cohen behind bars was "retaliatory."
  • Cohen is now considering whether to appeal the dismissal while blasting the judge's decision.

Michael Cohen blasted a federal judge's decision to dismiss his lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and the Justice Department for alleged retaliation over his Trump-critical book, calling it "simply wrong" as he considers appealing the case.

"Granting this motion prevents me from obtaining documents that would expose what happens when you have a corrupt president who weaponizes the DOJ through a complicit Attorney General," Cohen told Insider in a statement Tuesday.

"At every turn I have been silenced or derailed in my efforts to expose the unethical and unconstitutional tactics used against me by the previous administration," he added. "Despite all this, I will not be deterred in continuing my journey of speaking truth to power."

On Monday, US District Judge Lewis J. Liman granted the Justice Department's motion to dismiss Cohen's lawsuit against Trump, former US Attorney General Bill Barr, and other Trump-era prison administration officials.

The lawsuit, initially filed in December, alleged the Bureau of Prisons put him behind bars and kept him in solitary confinement for 16 days in retaliation for writing the book "Disloyal: A Memoir; The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump," which is critical of Trump. Cohen, once a fixer and personal lawyer for Trump, as well as an executive at the Trump Organization, has turned into a fiery Trump critic.

At the time, Cohen was under home confinement as part of a three-year sentence served for tax evasion, and for campaign finance violations by paying hush money on Trump's behalf ahead of the 2016 election to women who claimed they had sex with him. The Justice Department forced him to return to prison at around the same time he spoke to media organizations about his then-upcoming book.

In an apologetic court opinion, Liman, a Trump appointee, wrote that his hands were tied by Supreme Court precedent, which has chipped away at the ability under the court's landmark "Bivens" case, which permits plaintiffs to sue federal officers. 

"As such, Cohen's Bivens claims must be dismissed. Before doing so, however, this Court pauses to reiterate the profound violence this holding does to Cohen's constitutional rights," Liman wrote. "Cohen's complaint alleges an egregious violation of constitutional rights by the executive branch — nothing short of the use of executive power to lock up the President's political enemies for speaking critically of him."

Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, applauded the dismissal in a statement provided to Insider.

"Today we scored another victory against Michael Cohen. The Court saw through Cohen's frivolous lawsuit, which was legally deficient and, more importantly, based upon inflammatory allegations that are simply not true," she wrote. "President Donald J. Trump will continue to fight for the truth and against innumerable falsehoods being perpetrated by his enemies."

In another case, a judge agreed Cohen was retaliated against

A different federal judge ruled in 2020 that the Bureau of Prisons' actions were "unprecedented" and "retaliatory," ordering Cohen's return to home confinement.

"I make the finding that the purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory, 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," US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said at the time, according to Courthouse News.

Cohen followed up the book in question, "Disloyal," in October with the book "Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the US Department of Justice Against His Critics."

Michael Cohen
Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for U.S. President Donald Trump, exits the Loews Regency hotel and walks toward a taxi cab, July 27, 2018 in New York City.

Andrew Laufer, an attorney representing Cohen, told Insider on Tuesday that they were considering appealing Liman's decision.

"I think that it's just unfortunate that SCOTUS has given the government a further right to retaliate against detractors of government without any kind of recovery," Laufer said. "You can't throw people in jail because you wanna retaliate against them based upon their protected speech. And that's what happened here."

Laufer said he believes members of the Supreme Court — including the conservative Justice Clarence Thomas — may be sympathetic to Cohen's unique circumstances.

"Even Justice Thomas stated that under a unique enough scenario or fact pattern, the court would consider expanding it," Laufer said, referring to the limits the Supreme Court has set on "Bivens" precedents. "And I don't think there's anything more unique than what we have here: Direct and overt retaliation by the prior administration by the Trump administration against my client."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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