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Michael Cohen, Presidents Trump's former attorney, at his Park Avenue home in New York City in May before he was sent back to prison. Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration "for imprisoning Michael Cohen in retaliation for his plans to publish a book" that's critical of President Trump, the organization announced via Twitter Monday night.

Details: The ACLU filed a petition against the Justice Department and Bureau of Prisons earlier Monday on behalf of Cohen, calling for the release of Trump's former personal lawyer and for his return to home confinement.

The big picture: Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple financial crimes, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations.

  • Cohen was released from federal prison in New York in May to serve his sentence at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. But he was imprisoned again this month after refusing the conditions of his home confinement, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.
  • However, the petition argues that Trump's former fixer was taken back to prison because he planned to write a tell-all book on the president before November's election.

What they're saying: "We will defend the First Amendment from government censorship — as we have for a century now," ACLU added in its tweet.

  • Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, said in a statement to Axios, "The gag order that the government sought to impose on Mr. Cohen was an unconstitutional prior restraint, and his continued imprisonment is part of a dangerous pattern of retaliation against Trump critics."
  • Danya Perry and Samidh Guha, founding partners of Perry Guha LLP, which is filing the suit alongside ACLU, said in a statement to Axios the case was not about politics or personalities. "We trust that our Constitution will prevail and that free speech will continue to be protected," they said.
  • A BOP spokesperson said the bureau "does not comment on pending litigation or matters that are the subject of legal proceedings." The did not immediately return Axios' request for comment.

Read the petition, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: Michael Cohen taken back into federal custody

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to the rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision making," the letter says.

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

How Biden might tackle the Iran deal

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four more years of President Trump would almost certainly kill the Iran nuclear deal — but the election of Joe Biden wouldn’t necessarily save it.

The big picture: Rescuing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is near the top of Biden's foreign policy priority list. He says he'd re-enter the deal once Iran returns to compliance, and use it as the basis on which to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting deal with Iran.