REPS LIEU AND JEFFRIES CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO DOJ IMPRISONMENT OF MICHAEL COHEN
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) sent a letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz requesting an investigation into the DOJ’s imprisonment of Michael Cohen after he expressed desire to exercise his First Amendment rights. In the letter, the Members emphasized that the DOJ must execute the law in an equal and impartial manner.
In the letter, the Members write:
Dear Inspector General Horowitz:
Thank you for opening an investigation into the actions of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in both Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon. Attorney General Bill Barr has a record of suppressing the First Amendment rights of Americans, and his use of unmarked federal units to overpower protestors in D.C. and in Portland raises serious concerns.
Unfortunately, we have now learned that DOJ imprisoned Michael Cohen because he wanted to exercise his First Amendment rights. During a July 23 hearing on the circumstances surrounding Mr. Cohen’s imprisonment, Judge Alvin Hellerstein found: "[T]he purpose of transferring Mr. Cohen from furlough and home confinement to jail is retaliatory and it’s retaliation because of his desire to exercise his First Amendment rights to publish a book and discuss anything about the book or anything else he wants on social media and with others.” Judge Hellerstein then ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to release Mr. Cohen to home confinement.
It is a core responsibility for our Department of Justice to execute the law in an equal and impartial manner. We cannot have a justice system where friends of President Donald Trump, such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, get special treatment, while those who speak out against him are wrongfully punished. No one is above the law: not this President, not the Attorney General, and not the officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
We respectfully request you to investigate the potentially unlawful actions of Mr. Barr and officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in depriving Michael Cohen of his freedom in order to silence him. Thank you for your full and fair consideration.
Ted W. Lieu Hakeem Jeffries