Trump's attorneys ask to review documents seized from Cohen in Federal Bureau of Investigation raid

Lawrence Kim
April 16, 2018

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was swarmed by photographers and almost fell as she was hustled into a federal courthouse Monday, a scene that captured the atmosphere around a legal fight involving the president and an FBI investigation into his personal attorney.

Michael Cohen arrives at Manhattan Federal Court on April 16.

On Friday, lawyers for Cohen appeared in federal court in NY asking that they, not the Department of Justice, be given a first crack at reviewing the seized evidence to see if it was relevant to the investigation or could be forwarded to criminal investigators without jeopardizing attorney-client privilege.

The raid sought information about a variety of matters, including a $130,000 payment made to Daniels, a stage name for Stephanie Clifford.

The answer, the attorneys say, is Trump, the privilege-holder, "should be permitted to review the materials for privilege in the first instance".

Porn actress Stormy Daniels is expected to attend a court hearing in NY on Monday where a US judge will hear more arguments about US President Donald Trump's extraordinary request that he be allowed to review records seized from his lawyer's office as part of a criminal investigation before they are examined by prosecutors.

Prosecutors, who say they raided Cohen's office, home and hotel room as part of an undisclosed crime related to his personal business dealings, prefer the ordinary procedure of reviewing the documents with a panel of prosecutors unrelated to the investigation - a so-called "taint team".

"As the Court is surely aware, there is a growing public debate about whether criminal and congressional investigations by the government are being undertaken impartially, free of any political bias or partisan motivation", his lawyer said in a filing Monday. During that session, lawyers for Cohen are expected to tell the judge overseeing the case how many legal clients he has and how many seized documents he thinks might be covered by attorney-client privilege. The government says it should do the vetting.

Lawyers for President Donald Trump's personal attorney say investigators "took everything" during raids last week on his residence and office.

The request underscores the high stakes in an ongoing legal fight in federal court in NY, where Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, is also fighting to get a chance to review material seized as part of a criminal investigation of his business dealings.

"The president objects to the government's proposal to use a "taint team" of prosecutors from the very office that is investigating this matter to conduct the initial privilege review of documents seized from the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, " Hendon's letter said.

The submission in Manhattan federal court came prior to a hearing scheduled for the afternoon.

A lawyer for Trump filed papers late Sunday asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have a chance to review them and argue which are subject to attorney-client privilege. He has denied wrongdoing.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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