Trump lawyer goes to court over Federal Bureau of Investigation raids

Marsha Scott
April 15, 2018

Attorneys for Trump lawyer Michael Cohen want the court to order prosecutors to temporarily halt an examination of the material that was seized.

Cohen has not yet been charged with any crimes, but at this point it's a foregone conclusion. Sad!

Many sections in the U.S. Attorney's Friday response to Cohen are redacted, including one passage that allegedly would "further [bely] the notion that Cohen is now engaged in any significant practice of law".

Now, thanks to new court filings we have a better idea.

But the filing contains the first details released by the Justice Department on the searches, which covered Cohen's residence, hotel room, office, safety deposit boxes and two cell phones.

Prosecutors have been working with a grand jury to investigate Cohen for months, they write, and they have obtained secret warrants on his "multiple different email accounts".

Not only would evidence that Cohen indeed traveled to Prague reveal he's been lying, but it would discredit the argument Trump and his allies in Congress have been using to discredit the Russian Federation investigation. "I also know well the ostentatiously careful steps the SDNY typically takes to avoid unconstitutional interference in the right to counsel - meaning to distinguish real legal assistance from schemes masquerading as attorney-client relationships".

But the government said Cohen appears to have only one client Donald Trump.

In a footnote, the prosecutors wrote that although the investigation was referred to prosecutors in NY by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it was proceeding independently.

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Agents also sought records on Cohen's taxi business, CNN reported. Cohen admitted to paying adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in October 2016 for her silence about a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

The lawyers said they should be allowed to identify which of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege before prosecutors get to look at them.

President Trump's advisers have concluded that a wide-ranging corruption investigation into his personal lawyer poses a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the special counsel's investigation, according to several people close to Mr. Trump.

Cohen's lawyers, for their part, have asked to review the material for themselves, a proposal which the Manhattan prosecutors are fighting. Investigators also sought records related to Cohen's interactions with Trump campaign officials during the 2016 election cycle, according to the sources.

Following the hearing Friday, the judge ordered the parties to return to court Monday for another hearing, where Cohen will have to be present.

"She resisted the idea that Cohen's lawyers, a special master" or a "taint team" favoured by prosecutors should decide what becomes public.

On Monday, Cohen's attorney called the searches "completely inappropriate and unnecessary". He stated that Cohen's lawyers should not be the ones "single-handedly" deciding which material should retain attorney-client privilege.

A skeptical Wood spent the afternoon portion of the all-day hearing grilling Cohen's attorney, McDermott Will & Emery partner Todd Harrison, over claims that "thousands, if not millions" of documents scooped up by federal investigators earlier this week should be considered privileged. They cited the President's own comments.

The lawyers fear Cohen will not be forthcoming about what was in his files, leaving them girding for the unknown.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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