President Trump's former personal lawyer sued Atty. General William Barr and the director of the Bureau of Prisons on Monday said he was wrongly held behind bars to prevent him from completing a book that Trump criticized.
The lawsuit on behalf of Michael Cohen was filed with the Federal Supreme Court in Manhattan late Monday. He claimed that his rights to make the first change had been violated when he was returned to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York on July 9.
A message for a comment has been left with the Department of Justice.
53-year-old Cohen was on leave in May to slow the spread of the virus in federal prisons.
He had served only a year of his three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to, among other things, campaign finance charges and lied to Congress.
Cohen's campaign funding fees related to his efforts to arrange payouts during the 2016 presidential competition to keep porn actress and model Karen McDougal, known as Stormy Daniels, from making extramarital claims with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.
Monday's lawsuit said Cohen recently made it clear that he would publish a scrapbook shortly before the November election.
"Ahead of the 2020 presidential election, he wants to tell the American people about Trump's personality and inclinations, his private and professional affairs, as well as his personal and business ethics," said the American Civil Liberties Union and attorneys Danya Perry and Samidh in the Cohen lawsuit Guha.
The lawsuit said Cohen's crimes related to "lying to Congress on behalf of Mr. Trump and committing campaign funding violations on behalf of Mr. Trump."
According to the lawsuit, federal authorities detained Cohen again after tweeting #WillSpeakSoon on June 26 and completing his Trump book on July 2.
The lawsuit said U.S. parole officers commissioned by the Bureau of Prisons and its director Michael Carvajal asked Cohen to agree not to speak to or through the media, including by publishing a book.
The officials were said to have made an unconstitutional request, and Cohen and his lawyers had asked for clarification and restriction of the ban on speech, only to see him jailed after the officials said they would "chain" his requests to executives of the Bureau of Prisons.
Cohen has remained in solitary confinement since he was transferred to Otisville.
His health was also said to have suffered and his blood pressure had risen to a critical level, "which led to severe headaches, difficulty breathing and anxiety."
And he added that he had made no progress on his book. The lawsuit requested an order to take him back to the detention center.