If Michael Cohen gets sent to the prison facility recommended by his judge, he’ll have an array of kosher food at his disposal, should he want it.
President Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer could be headed to FCI Otisville, a medium-security prison about 70 miles northwest of New York City; he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Otisville serves kosher food, including such traditional Jewish dishes as matzah ball soup, gefilte fish, cholent, and rugelach, in part because of its “proximity to New York’s sizable Jewish population.”
Larry Levine, who served an 11-year sentence in 10 different prisons and then set up the Wall Street Prison Consultants group, told CNN’s MarketWatch that Otisville is “federal Jewish heaven.” It holds Shabbat dinners and Passover seders.
Other Jewish inmates who passed through the facility include businessmen Kenneth Ira Starr, who was in for a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme and is out now, and Sholam Weiss, who was sentenced to 845 years in jail in 2000, owes a quarter-billion dollars in fines and restitution for embezzlement, and still is there. Bernie Madoff’s lawyer asked that the Ponzi schemer be sent there in 2009, but instead Madoff was funneled to a prison in North Carolina.
U.S. District Judge William Pauley recommended Otisville for Cohen after he was found guilty of, among other things, carrying out the president’s hush money payments to two women who say they had affairs with him, violating campaign finance laws in the process.
But the final decision will be made by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It’s also unclear whether Cohen, who has noted his Jewish identity many times, keeps kosher.
Otisville also is known for being particularly comfortable, at least for a prison. One inmate told MarketWatch that he eats better in the prison, where the staff is pleasant and the food is “plentiful,” than he did at home.