Michael Cohen’s lawyers are petitioning for their “rat” client to serve his 36-month sentence at FCI Otisville, a notoriously comfortable minimum-security lockup roughly 80 miles north of Manhattan that has long been a destination for financial fraudsters and other White Collar criminals, according to NBC News.
Though the Bureau of Prisons has ultimate authority over where Cohen will serve his sentence, Otisville has both minimum security and medium security lockups and is believed to be a space where Cohen would be “safe” from reprisals. Cohen has been ordered to report to prison on March 6 (though he could still manage to have his sentence reduced by offering further cooperation to prosecutors). Data show the BEP complies with roughly three-quarters of recommendations made by prosecutors.
As one of our readers explained in a post published nearly 10 years ago, Otisville is a popular destination for Jewish convicts due to the accessibility to weekly Shabbat Services and a Rabbi, making Otisville unique in the federal prison system.
In remarks that elicited derision from Trump and his supporters, Cohen said during a statement before his sentencing that he had been living in a “personal and mental incarceration” due to his lies and crimes and that his prison term would – ironically – help him regain his spiritual freedom.
And what better prison could there be to aid in Cohen’s “rehabilitation” than a lockup once named one of America’s ten “cushiest prisons” by Forbes? Otisville is one of several minimum security lockups that has helped to popularize the “Club Fed” moniker.
A local Fox affiliate station described Otisville as a “pleasant” facility to serve time. Over the years, it has been home to many high profile financial fraudsters. Its minimum security camp has many amenities, including a bocce court and cardio equipment, and inmates are allowed as many as 12 visits per month:
FCI Otisville is a medium-security correctional institution for men. It has 840 inmates. The prison includes a detention center, where 722 inmates are housed, and an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp with 118 inmates, according to its website.
After Bernard Madoff admitted to running a criminal Ponzi scheme in 2009, his attorney Ira Lee Sorkin requested to the judge that he be sent to FCI Otisville.
Instead, Madoff is incarcerated at FCI Butner, a medium-security prison in North Carolina.
Inmates at FCI Otisville include Sholam Weiss, a businessman who was convicted of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering in connection to the collapse of National Heritage Life Insurance Company in 1999. He fled the country as the jury deliberated but was eventually found in Austria and extradited back to the United States, the US Attorney’s Office said.
Celebrity financial adviser Kenneth Ira Starr has also spent time at FCI Otisville after pleading guilty to carrying out a $33 million scheme to defraud clients.
In the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” fictional Wall Street businessman Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, does his time for insider trading at “Otis” federal prison, a clear reference to Otisville.
At FCI Otisville’s detention center, the daily schedule begins at 6 a.m. with wake-up call and lights on, and days are made up of a series of meals, work calls, unit sanitation and leisure time activities. Lights out is at 11:30 p.m.
Inmates are allowed 12 visiting points per month, with a visit on a weekday counting as one point and on holidays or weekends as two points.
The FCI Otisville satellite camp is more lenient. The camp has a number of recreational activities: Weights, cardio equipment, bocce ball and horseshoes. The camp has a basketball court, handball court, tennis area, baseball field, and running and walking areas.
Since Mueller couldn’t prevent Cohen from serving time despite his cooperation against Trump, he can at least send Cohen to a comfortable summer camp where he can munch on gefiltefish while reading the paper, enjoying regular visits with his family and work on his bocce game.