President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen – recently released from jail into house arrest – was spotted dining out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side on Thursday.

The New York Post published photographs of Mr Cohen dining with his wife and another couple outside French restaurant Le Bilboquet on Thursday night.

The paper reports legal experts as saying that the meal could cost him his freedom for violating the terms of his furlough from prison, an allegation that his lawyer has denied.

Mr Cohen is serving a three-year prison term for tax evasion, bank fraud, and lying to Congress. His sentence is scheduled to expire on 21 November, 2021.

As Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, Mr Cohen covered up hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons released him on 20 May from Otisville prison, New York, due to the coronavirus pandemic and a heart condition.

A judge had refused to reduce his sentence only two months earlier for the same reason.

The New York Post reports Mr Cohen’s lawyer, Jeffrey Levine as saying that his client is currently on furlough and that he “did not violate any of the terms and conditions of his release”.

He added: “Any assertion or suggestion to the contrary would be wholly inaccurate and untrue.”

An application for furlough requires the inmate to provide a destination address and states that they acknowledge they are only allowed in the area of the destination or at points on a direct route to and from there.

The paper quotes an ex-Bureau of Prisons official saying that the restaurant outing “doesn’t look right”, and could be considered a violation of furlough conditions. A defence attorney told the Post that it was common sense that he shouldn’t be dining at restaurants as it is a privilege to be furloughed.

The lawyer said that it “should be revisited by the warden and it should be revoked.”

Tweeting out the New York Post story concerning Mr Cohen, Donald Trump Jr wrote: “Don’t worry they’ll only enforce a crime against someone who’s pro ⁦Trump⁩ not someone who tries to turns against him for a lesser sentence. I’m sure Michael, won’t get in trouble for breaking the terms of his house arrest he’s above the law.”

On leaving prison on 20 May to serve out the rest of his sentence, Mr Cohen tweeted: “there is so much I want to say”.

He maintains that he violated campaign finance rules under the direction of Mr Trump in order to influence the 2016 election — an allegation that the president denies.

Mr Cohen recently tweeted that he is working on a book, supposedly due out in late September, in which he will reveal details of his time working for Mr Trump.

In late June, Mr Cohen posted a New York Times article about Attorney General William Barr’s efforts to undermine New York prosecutors, saying that “the article reveals only a part of the full story. #WillSpeakSoon”.

Mr Barr reportedly tried to overturn the part of Mr Cohen’s conviction that implicated the president.

Judging by his Twitter account, Mr Cohen seems unperturbed by the press he is receiving, tweeting out a safe and happy 4th of July to his followers.



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