Michael Cohen, R. Kelly Among High-Profile Prisoners Asking to Be Released Over COVID-19 Fears

Some experts hope the focus will shift to releasing non-high profile inmates.

There are roughly 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States. Jails and prisons are natural breeding grounds for the spread of coronavirus. Now, some high-profile inmates are asking to be released to avoid getting sick.

Among them are Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff, singer R. Kelly, who is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to alleged sex crimes, and convicted rapist Bill Cosby.

Cohen has been trying to secure an early release since December, several months into a three-year sentence for campaign finance violations. In March, he again asked the court to allow him to serve the rest of his sentence in home confinement, citing the potential threat posed by the virus, CNN reported. A federal judge rejected the plea.

Notorious lawyer Michael Avenatti, who was recently convicted for attempting to extort $25 million from Nike, was successful in getting temporarily released over coronavirus fears ahead of his sentencing.

But some experts hope the focus will shift to non-high profile inmates in the coming weeks.

"Who we're releasing should not be focused on just releasing a high profile case," said one advocate. "There's way too many people that deserve to get out that have been waiting for a very long time to get out on compassionate release."