the law

Will Michael Cohen Hang Out With Billy McFarland and the Situation in Prison?

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Fyre Festival fraudster Billy McFarland and Jersey Shore star turned tax cheat Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino will soon have a new celeb neighbor in prison: Michael Cohen. On Monday, President Trump’s former fixer is reportedly scheduled to check into Otisville FCI, a federal lockup in upstate New York. According to the Associated Press, Cohen is headed to the “camp,” as it’s known, which is for “non-violent offenders.” Vulture confirmed that McFarland and Sorrentino are at Otisville.

Cohen, 53, was hit with a three-year sentence in December after copping to campaign-finance and tax-evasion counts, as well as lying to Congress. McFarland, 27, was sentenced to six years in October for running the approximately $26 million scam. Sorrentino, 37, got an eight-month sentence that same month for hiding money from the IRS.

Otisville, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, has a “minimum-security satellite camp” with 113 inmates, and a medium-security facility with 745. At the camp, prisoners “sleep in bunks lined up in barrack-style halls,” per the AP. The close proximity — okay, really, the bunk beds — poses serious questions about whether they’ll get along. Below, we try to find some answers.

Is it likely McFarland, Sorrentino, and Cohen will become besties?
“Not at all,” said Larry Levine, a former federal inmate who founded Wall Street Prison Consultants, a firm that helps people navigate the incarceration process. “They’re all strong-personality people. Billy McFarland is like a personality hound of sorts.” Levine later said, “The publicity hounds are going to be a little upset. They’re going to be a little hurt.” Levine himself was in federal custody for ten years in 11 facilities, including several minimum-security camps.

Will they see each other around the yard?
While they’ll wind up eating at the same dining hall and movie nights because of the “close proximity,” Levine said, the extent of any hangouts is up to them. “At a camp, you’re interacting with everyone,” he said.” “They’ll have the ability to interact, but that’s really a choice based on them.”

Don’t celebrities gravitate to each other in prison?
“Not really,” Levine said. “They don’t look at themselves or view themselves as celebrities.” Also, these three men wound up in jail under different circumstances, which is key to possible relationships. “They run in different worlds,” Levine said. “They’re not celebrity brothers.”

But …
“That doesn’t mean they might not play cards together,” he said. “It could be cocktail hour — they could be sipping pruno [prison wine] together, getting fucking drunk, laughing,” he explained at another point in the interview. “It’s possible.”

What are McFarland and Sorrentino going to think of Cohen?
“Maybe these high-profile people will resent Michael Cohen because he’s getting all this attention now,” Levine said. “[Or] maybe they’ll think, Thank God he’s here, and people will leave me alone.” Levine added: “Likewise, they might swap manuscripts. ‘Hey, Mike, you wanna read my book?’ Remember, Cohen is going to have nothing but time on his hands.”

Are inmates going to treat Cohen differently than McFarland or Sorrentino when he gets there?
“They may take him under their wing; they may have a care package for him. [When] he gets there, he’s not going to have shit, so the other inmates are going to give him a pair of shower shoes, and they’re going to hook him up with shampoo; they’re going to give him a regular bar of soap,” Levine said. “But it’s not because it’s Michael Cohen; they do it for everyone.”

Will staff treat Cohen differently than McFarland and Sorrentino?
“You know what the staff really likes to do to high-profile inmates: They might like to demean them to a certain degree,” Levine said. Notable residents might get gross jobs, like cleaning showers, which tend to be soiled with lots of “sperm,” Levine said.

Does Cohen even care he’ll be bunking near McFarland and Sorrentino?
Cohen’s spokesperson didn’t comment specifically on McFarland or Sorrentino, saying, “He is not focused on who’s in prison right now, but he’s really just focused on spending time with his family.” McFarland’s lawyer declined to comment on Cohen. Sorrentino’s lawyer didn’t respond to a request for comment. The Bureau of Prisons didn’t respond to a request for info.

Will Michael Cohen Hang Out With Billy McFarland in Prison?