President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen sparked speculation on Twitter Monday night after he name-dropped two federal prison friends, “Tony Meatballs and Big Minty,” and the promise he’d made to them and other former fellow inmates to fight for the rights of inmates.
“Now, I did the mandamus because I made a promise to guys back at Otisville, like my buddies Tony Meatballs and Big Minty, that I wasn’t going to stop once I got out, once I was put back on home confinement,” Cohen said in the clip made from his appearance on MSNBC’s “The Beat With Ari Melber,” reports The Hill.
The interview overall was about Cohen’s complaints concerning Trump’s recent pardons, including those of former campaign chair Paul Manafort and the president’s friend Roger Stone. Cohen made the comment about his prison friends while referring to a lawsuit he filed last week on claims that he had earned an early release to home confinement under Trump’s criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act.
In Cohen’s lawsuit, he says he deserves to be released early from home confinement, but federal officials are refusing to credit him for good behavior and for completing prison courses and hundreds of hours of work while behind bars, reports The Guardian.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to nine criminal counts, including tax evasion and fraud. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison and served time at Otisville Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
He had initially been scheduled to stay behind bars until November 2021 but was released to home confinement in May as part of the federal prisons’ push to slow the spread of COVID-19 among inmates.
The clip of Cohen’s mention of his prison friends quickly went viral on Twitter Monday night.
“Wait. Wasn’t Tony Meatballs a character on The Simpsons?” Jeet Heer, a national correspondent for The Nation, tweeted.
“Was this a dare? Did he lose a bet or something?” writer Rafi Schwartz also tweeted.
Yet another Twitter user, identified as “Ljspring1,” said she is “naming my next two rescue dogs Tony Meatballs and Big Minty.”