Trump attorney Michael Cohen fights to shield items seized in Federal Bureau of Investigation raid

April 13 23:02 2018

Cohen is seeking a temporary restraining order regarding the searches of his home and office, a Justice Department spokesman said earlier on Friday.

On Monday, President Donald Trump learned that F.B.I. agents had raided an office and a hotel apartment that were the territory of Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer. Cohen did not appear in court Friday morning.

Cohen “is being investigated for criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings”, according to court documents.

One of the sources said the warrant also referenced an investigation into wire fraud and bank fraud. The raid on Monday came by way of a tip from special counsel Robert Mueller.

But news of the Cohen raid threw him over the edge.

He uncovered information not linked to his inquiry that he thought federal prosecutors should know about, The New York Times reported. And late this evening, CBS News sources are also telling us the search and seizure warrants that were executed mentioned President Trump several times.

The raid creates a new legal headache for Trump as he and his attorneys weigh whether to agree to an interview with Mueller’s team, which in addition to investigating potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign is also examining whether the president’s actions constitute obstruction of justice.

The search warrants also listed records related to the release of the so-called “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Mr. Trump is heard making vulgar comments about women.

Cohen’s lawyers apparently want to go over the documents and tapes and shield from prosecutors any they deem privileged.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McKay accused Cohen of trying to invoking “wildly overbroad” claims of attorney-client privilege to avoid the disclosure of thousands of allegedly privileged communications related to the president and other cases. The filter team is working from a list of individuals and companies they’ve compiled regarding people who aren’t Cohen’s legal clients.

Communications between lawyers and their clients are normally off limits to prosecutors, but there are exceptions, including when the materials are considered part of an ongoing crime.

The raid itself was executed by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, which is now led by Trump appointee Geoffrey Berman.

Following the hearing Friday, the court matter is on pause until 4 pm.

The Justice Department is asking for a so-called taint team to vet the material seized in the raids Monday, as is standard process. It is rare to seek documents from lawyers in any case, but doing so by search rather than subpoena is unusually aggressive and is typically reserved for cases when prosecutors believe that the lawyer would hide or destroy evidence if asked for it.

“The decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in NY to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary”, Ryan said in a statement.

“I have confidence that the Justice Department will follow its carefully designed rules to protect attorney-client communications”.

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Daniels’ suit over the NDA is under way in Los Angeles, where she has sued Cohen and Trump.

The 22-page filing states that the recent searches are the result of a “months-long investigation into Cohen, and seek evidence of crimes, many of which have nothing to do with his work as an attorney, but rather relate to Cohen’s own business dealings”.

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Trump attorney Michael Cohen fights to shield items seized in Federal Bureau of Investigation raid
 
 
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