Trump's Former Lawyer Vows to Help in Air Force Vet Reality Winner's Appeal

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Reality Winner arrives at a courthouse in Augusta, Ga.
In this Aug. 23, 2018, file photo, Reality Winner arrives at a courthouse in Augusta, Ga., after she pleaded guilty in June to copying a classified U.S. report and mailing it to an unidentified news organization. (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

President Donald Trump's now-disbarred onetime lawyer is pledging to aid former Air Force language analyst and contractor Reality Winner with her case.

Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told Business Insider on Tuesday that Michael Cohen is attempting to get additional legal representation for her daughter, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to leaking classified National Security Agency information on Russia's alleged efforts to undermine the 2016 election to The Intercept website.

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Winner, 28, was found guilty of violating the U.S. Espionage Act and sentenced to more than five years in prison. She is currently serving her sentence at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Winner tested positive for COVID-19 over the summer, according to her family, and made an emergency appeal for compassionate release to serve her sentence at home amid an outbreak at the facility. The appeal was denied.

"I intend to do more than just speak out," Cohen wrote on Twitter in response to Winner-Davis' tweets regarding the story. "I have asked a world class attorney to visit me tomorrow so we might deep dive into the case and help the current team with the upcoming hearing."

Cohen, who himself pleaded guilty to numerous campaign violations and tax fraud, among other crimes, in 2018, began serving his sentence in May 2019 at the federal penitentiary in Otisville, New York. He has been under house arrest since July over coronavirus concerns, but was recently seen strolling through Central Park.

Cohen added, "I certainly know what that feels like. Working to do what I can to #FreeRealityWinner."

Jeffrey Levine, Cohen's attorney, exchanged emails with Military.com and said he would review the original Business Insider story. He did not return another email by press time. 

Winner-Davis told Military.com via Twitter message that Cohen has asked another attorney to look at the case and for opportunities to help.

"His attorney was successful at arguing for compassionate release for [Cohen] and others and he wants to make sure every possible avenue is researched," she said. "He is also willing (and has already shown) to help spread awareness by speaking out in support of her in media and social media.“

Winner, a cryptologic language analyst with the 94th Intelligence Squadron at Fort Meade, Maryland, separated from active duty in 2016 after serving for six years. In that time, the former senior airman received the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Following her separation, she was hired by Pluribus International Corporation under an NSA contract to work out of Fort Gordon, Georgia.

While working for the security firm, she printed a classified report detailing how Russian hackers allegedly "executed cyber espionage operations" on local election systems, according to ABC News. She mailed the documents to The Intercept and was arrested on June 3, 2017 -- two days ahead of the news outlet's publication of the information.

Prosecutors have said Winner's sentence is one of the longest ever imposed for a federal crime involving leaks to the media, according to The Associated Press.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comment from Billie Winner-Davis.

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

Related: Former Airman Reality Winner, Imprisoned for Leaking Government Secrets, Tests Positive for COVID-19

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