Michael Cohen’s Prison Life As a Federal Informant [OPINION]
President Trump's former personal attorney is getting ready to embark on a new journey: as an informant in the federal prison system.
According to the New York Times, the convicted felon and former attorney Michael Cohen has requested he serve his three-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York. That facility is one of the closest federal prisons to Cohen's home in New York City
It is also the favored destination of Jewish convicts like Mr. Cohen incarcerated in the federal system.
The New York Times reports, "the minimum-security camp at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, N.Y., does offer is a rarity in the federal prison system: a full-time Hasidic chaplain who oversees a congregation of dozens of Jewish inmates who gather for prayer services three times a day."
“For a Jewish person, there is no place like Otisville,” former inmate Earl Seth David told the Times, described by the paper as "a former inmate who attended kosher meals, religious classes, and weekly Shabbat services in the prison shul, a shared space where the Torah scrolls are locked up every night."
But Cohen isn't a regular prisoner. He is a snitch, a rat, an informant who has agreed to testify against his former client to save himself. He is a lawyer who is trading his client to the government. The other inmates might not like President Trump, but at least he isn't an informant.
People I know who have been in prison have explained a unique ritual demanded of new inmates. The new inmate has to lay out his criminal paperwork for "the powers that be" among the inmates to inspect. The bosses are looking to see if the new inmate has been an informant. Nobody wants to live with a snitch.
Cohen's paperwork isn't going to be in question; he is the most famous snitch since Sammy "The Bull" Gravano. Cohen secretly taped his client, Donald Trump, long before the investigation started, so he is instinctively a snitch and a traitor. He is also going to encounter inmates who are in prison because their attorney also sold them out.
One former inmate, Lawrence Dressler, told the Times that "Otisville inmates would probably ostracize Mr. Cohen at first, because he provided inside information about Mr. Trump, and therefore qualifies as a rat in cellblock circles.
“It’s part of the code,” Dressler said. ”A lot of inmates are in there because people testified against them. Half the chatter in the camp is about rats, so he’ll have to listen to that a lot.”
Have fun, Mr. Cohen.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.