Monday, 19 November, 2018

Trump lawyer tries to prevent use of materials found in Federal Bureau of Investigation raid

Andrew Cummings | 15 April, 2018, 00:17

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

The news that the corruption investigation in NY is seen by Trump's own advisers as a more imminent threat came as lawyers for Trump and Cohen sought to block investigators from going through records obtained on Monday in an FBI raid on Cohen's hotel room and office.

The raid, and the warrants used to conduct it, was to find information on payments made to two women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump.

The raids followed a referral by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who for almost a year has been looking into whether Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

But the Cohen matter is different, and holds much more different implications for Trump, McCarthy, who spent almost 20 years as a prosecutor in the Southern District of NY, wrote.

It also potentially involved records related to porn star Stormy Daniels, who was paid $130,000 weeks before the election to silence an alleged affair she had with Trump.

A lawyer for President Donald Trump has sought in court to stop USA prosecutors from deciding what materials seized from his personal lawyer can be used in a probe that began with a referral by investigators looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Agents, they wrote, had already searched multiple email accounts maintained by Cohen after securing an earlier search warrant. She ordered the lawyers - including Cohen - to return to court Monday with more details, including a list of Cohen's clients.

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An attorney for the president, Joanna Hendon, told the judge that Trump has "an acute interest in this matter". She argued that materials obtained from Cohen had to be handled carefully because some could relate to a sitting president. He stated that Cohen's lawyers should not be the ones "single-handedly" deciding which material should retain attorney-client privilege.

Whatever the judge decided, Hendon said, would have to "withstand scrutiny for all time". "This has to be done right", she said.

She added that she was anxious about the "appearance of fairness", given the stakes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McKay said the legal issues at stake were no different than other cases involving lawyers' records. Daniels opposes the request; her response to Friday evening's request is due by 6 p.m. PT Monday. Wood said the court would reconvene in the afternoon to discuss how to release transcripts of those discussions that redacted the names of people described as "innocent individuals". Her attorney, Michael Avenatti, was also present in the courtroom.

Wood adjourned the hearing until Monday to give lawyers for Trump an opportunity to weigh in on the issue.

The recordings could prove valuable to the government's criminal investigation of Michael Cohen. Her allegation was based on a February 13 statement by Cohen that she said hurt her reputation.

The judge said prosecutors believed either a special "taint team" of government lawyers should decide what evidence can be properly viewed by criminal prosecutors. They claim it's protected by attorney-client privilege.

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