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Michael Cohen Book Claims Trump Made Racist Comments about Obama and Mandela

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Michael Cohen Book Claims Trump Made Racist Comments about Obama and Mandela

2020-07-22 22:34:15

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Michael Cohen (Image source: Screenshot)

Without even having a publisher for his book yet, Michael Cohen has still found a way to let out a few of the juicier details. Believing that Trump had him thrown back in prison to prevent the book from being released, he included a few details in the lawsuit, just enough to give everyone some interest in it.

Donald Trump's former attorney has been saying for over a year that he had more information about the president. Cohen was using it to stay out of prison, but instead, they threw him into prison anyway. He sought home confinement because of the danger of catching the coronavirus in prison. He earned the release but was thrown back in very quickly with some questions surrounding the reasoning.

Some of the details of the book are included in a lawsuit that was filed to earn him a second release from prison. He claims Trump made racist comments about former President Barack Obama and the late South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Cohen was rearrested on July 9, less than two months after he was cleared to serve the rest of his three-year prison sentence on home confinement. His attorneys allege his First Amendment rights were violated when he was detained at the federal courthouse in Manhattan while meeting with probation officers. They asked him to sign a gag order that would prohibit him from speaking to the media, posting to social media, or publishing his book while he was on home confinement.

The suit names Attorney General William Barr and Federal Bureau of Prisons officials. An initial hearing was scheduled for Thursday and assigned to U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in the Southern District of New York.

Cohen said in the court documents that his book will include "my firsthand experiences and observations based on my decade-long employment and relationship with Mr. Trump and his family, both before and after he was elected."

The working title of the book is "Disloyal: The True Story of Michael Cohen, Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump." It's not clear who in that narrative is being disloyal, Trump or Cohen. The former attorney said he'd been writing daily while in the prison law library before he was released to home confinement.

"In particular, my book will provide graphic and unflattering details about the president's behavior behind closed doors," described Cohen. It will describe "the president's pointedly anti-Semitic remarks and virulently racist remarks against such Black leaders as President Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela, neither of whom he viewed as real leaders or as worthy of respect by virtue of their race," wrote Cohen.

Cohen had been Trump's longtime personal attorney and had often been referred to as his "fixer." He pleaded guilty to tax evasion, as well as making false statements, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress. Some of these charges stemmed from hush-money payments that he was a party to that paid off two women to keep their alleged affairs with Trump quiet before the 2016 presidential campaign. He had lied to Congress about Trump's real estate connection with Russia.

The official story from the authorities is that Cohen was taken back into custody because he refused to wear an ankle monitor. His legal team disputes this claim and contends he did not refuse to sign the media policy that was given to him before he was taken back into custody. The claim he simply shared that he had some concerns about it and asked for it to be amended.

Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union and former federal prosecutor Danya Perry are part of Cohen's legal team. The team alleges that his home confinement was revoked because of his plans to publish his book.

He is "being held in retaliation for his protected speech, including drafting a book manuscript that is critical of the president — and recently making public his intention to publish that book soon, shortly before the upcoming election," explains the court filing.

The agreement Cohen was asked to sign required "no engagement of any kind with the media, including print, TV, film, books, or any other form of media/news." Additionally, it prohibited "all social media platforms" and barred his family and friends from posting on his behalf. His legal team contends these terms were added specifically for him and are not part of any standard procedure.

The lawsuit also references Trump's recent attempts to block the publication of two other books about him. Former national security adviser John Bolton was sued by the Justice Department on behalf of the administration. It claimed "The Room Where It Happened" contained privileged information. A judge disagreed, and the book was published late last month.

Trump's niece, Mary Trump, the daughter of his late brother Fred, was sued by their other brother Robert Trump. He insisted her book included privileged information that she was prevented from publishing because of a confidentiality clause in an estate settlement signed after the death of the president's father, her grandfather. The case was shuttled through a few different courtrooms, but eventually, a judge's final decision was that she was allowed to release the book. It was released last week. 

Charles Harder, the attorney who filed to block Mary Trump's book about the family, "Too Much and Never Enough," sent a cease-and-desist letter to Cohen. He claims Cohen was bound by a nondisclosure agreement as well, yet Cohen, a former attorney, disputes this. One of Cohen's attorneys asked for a copy of the NDA, but it was never sent.

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