Matza ball soup? A taste of Michael Cohen's prison

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 6, 2019 - Duration: 02:09s

Matza ball soup? A taste of Michael Cohen's prison

With a menu that includes matzo ball soup and gefilte fish, as well as a full-time rabbi and a chance at the occasional visit home, the U.S. prison where Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer will spend the next three years is unique in the federal system.

Lisa Bernhard reports.


Matza ball soup? A taste of Michael Cohen's prison

It serves matzo ball soup and gefilte fish.

While the menu might sound like Katz's Delicatessen in lower Manhattan, we're talking about the prison in upstate New York that Michael Cohen will call home for the next three years.

President Trump's former attorney reports Monday to the Federal Correctional Institute in Otisville.

And as far as jails go, it has unique reputation, says Reuters correspondent Brendan Pierson.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT BRENDAN PIERSON SAYING: 'The prison is known as a desirable destination for white-collar Jewish inmates in particular.

One prison consultant I spoke to actually referred to it as 'Jewish heaven.'

This consultant is Jewish and spent time in prison himself though not at this particular facility.

One of the things that distinguishes it for Jewish inmates is that it employs a full-time rabbi as a chaplain.

Another thing that sets it apart is the food in the commissary.

There are a large number of kosher options that are available.

' One reason Otisville has become a destination for Jewish convicts is simple geography: It's close to New York City's one-point-one million Jews, where many inmates - like Cohen - have family.

It's also close to several Orthodox Jewish enclaves upstate.

At Cohen’s sentencing hearing in December, his lawyer at the time asked that Cohen be sent to Otisville but did not give a reason for the request.

Cohen, who once said he would 'take a bullet' for Trump, was charged financial crimes including orchestrating hush money to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump.

Cohen says those payments were directed by Trump, which the President denies.

The Otisville facility offers also offer tennis, a baseball field and bocce ball, according to its handbook.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT BRENDAN PIERSON SAYING: 'The prison where Michael Cohen is going is what's called a 'minimum security camp.'

It doesn't have fences, the accommodations are sort of dormitory-like.

Like all inmates Cohen will have a job which will take at least a few hours a day.

Other than that he'll have spare time in which he can do as he pleases.'

Cohen, who is married with two children, could also potentially be granted a furloughs of one to two days for family reasons.

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