Investigators Take First Look At Documents From Michael Cohen Raid
Criminal investigators are finally taking a look at materials seized during April 9 raids of the home, office and hotel room of President Donald Trump‘s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Michael Cohen Raid Materials Examined
The inspection is part of a process to determine which documents are subject to attorney-client privilege, and precedes a fourth hearing Cohen will attend that U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood will preside over.
Cohen’s lawyers reportedly filed a letter to the court on Friday, in which they complimented the “careful review procedure that is currently being overseen by the special master.” Cohen’s defense team is reportedly seeking to ensure that porn star Stormy Daniels‘ attorney Michael Avenatti — who has been repeatedly criticizing and cornering Trump and Cohen in television interviews and on Twitter — is not included in this court case.
Many of the materials that were taken in the FBI’s raids were records pertaining to Cohen’s $130,000 payment in hush money to Daniels, as well as other potential financial transactions Trump’s longtime lawyer may have made to other women with whom the president had extramarital affairs. The searches were also conducted to look for documents related to the infamous Access Hollywood bus tape that surfaced just weeks before the 2016 election. As any form of communications like text messages and emails exchanged between Cohen and Trump were also seized, much of the materials are contained on electronic devices like iPads, cellphones and computes.
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It is believed that the electronic documents will take longer to examine, partly because they contain a much larger amount of materials.
Shortly after the April 9 raids, Trump furiously took to Twitter to denounce them, saying “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”
However, if a lawyer and his client are found to have conspired to commit a crime, such a privilege generally does not apply.
The raids were authorized by a federal judge based on true information provided by prosecutors in New York. Special counsel Robert Mueller — who is overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the election — also partly allowed the searches to be carried out, as he granted a referral for them.
Cohen has already pleaded the Fifth Amendment in Daniels’ defamation lawsuit, and many political pundits have questioned whether he will “flip” on Trump and testify against the president, possibly even while wearing a wire. It was recently revealed that Cohen had two other clients last year: Fox News host Sean Hannity, and Elliot Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser who had to resign as the RNC’s deputy finance chairman earlier this year after it was discovered he had paid $1.6 million to a former Playboy model with whom he had an affair and whom he impregnated. The payment was made through Essential Consultants LLC, Cohen’s firm that was also used to pay off Daniels.
According to a CNBC report last week, Cohen met with Qatar’s economy and commerce minister Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani in Florida just days before his home and office were raided.
The New York Times also reported last week that a firm partly-owned by the Qatari government is about to bail out the New York City flagship building of the Kushner Companies, the real estate firm managed by the family of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.
Cohen was also recently revealed to have received large payments from major companies like AT&T, drug giants Novartis, and investment firm Columbus Nova over the past year in exchange for providing “insight” into Trump’s administration and its policies regarding how it would deal with those companies’ respective industries.
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