Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, has been placed in solitary confinement at a federal prison in New York state over what Reuters reports was "a verbal dispute over phone use."
Cohen, who is 53, is U.S. President Donald Trump's former personal attorney and is serving time for violating campaign finance laws.
On Wednesday, Cohen was transferred to a Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution, an extreme discipline section of the prison, Reuters reports Thursday:
Until now, Cohen had been housed in a minimum-security camp at Otisville, which is about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of New York City. One of the sources said Cohen was placed in solitary after another inmate complained about his internet use.
"It is my understanding that a verbal dispute over phone use prompted a temporary placement to SHU pending an investigation. I do not however know who prompted the altercation, or if the action taken was factually/ regulatory appropriate," Cohen's lawyer, Roger Adler, said in an email to Reuters.
A former representative for Cohen, Lanny Davis, declined to comment. The Federal Bureau of Prisons said it could not comment on the circumstances of individual inmates.
Cohen, who once said he would "take a bullet" for Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for directing hush payments to pornographic film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump. Trump has denied having the encounters.
Last month, Cohen asked to be released from prison early, citing the coronavirus outbreak and the high risk in prison of contracting COVID-19. Federal District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan denied the request.
"Ten months into his prison term, it's time that Cohen accept the consequences of his criminal convictions for serious crimes that had far reaching institutional harms," Pauley wrote on March 23.
More at Reuters:
Exclusive: Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, in solitary confinement
[Aram Roston, Mark Hosenball]