DOJ Inspector General to Review Trump Administration’s Handling of Manafort, Cohen

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department’s inspector general has notified lawmakers that he will examine how the Trump administration handled the prison terms of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen. 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz told lawmakers about the review in a Jan. 19 letter obtained by Insider

Due to health issues, Cohen was released to home confinement in May 2020 but was sent back to prison in July 2020. In a lawsuit filed in December 2021, Cohen alleged he was sent back to prison in retaliation for criticizing Trump.  

By contrast, former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort was released to home confinement in May 2020 and not sent back to prison. He was serving a nearly four year sentence for tax and bank fraud. 

In a letter to the inspector general in May 2020, U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Hakem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Manafort received “disparate treatment” compared to other federal inmates who were not sent back to prison. 

“This outrageous, unconstitutional behavior by the Justice Department and BOP must stop,” the lawmakers wrote.

In the letter to lawmakers, Horowitz pledged to review the issue but failed to promise a full investigation. 

Cohen told Insider he was disappointed with Horowitz’s response. 

“This non-acknowledgment acknowledgment is far less than what I was hoping for after 18 months of neglect,” Cohen said. “This letter should have merely apologized for the delay, as it did, and stated emphatically that the OIG is opening an investigation into the unconstitutional remand of me back to Otisville.”

Cohen said a full investigation would show “that former President Trump and his complicit attorney general, Bill Barr, spearheaded this violation of my First Amendment right — proving my statement that Trump did not want to be president of the United States but rather an autocrat, dictator, monarch and/or supreme leader.”

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