Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is under criminal investigation

Katrina Barker
April 15, 2018

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer who the Justice Department announced has been under criminal investigation for months.

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".

The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan made the filing after lawyers for Cohen and Trump asked a judge on Friday to block investigators from reviewing material the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized in a search of Cohen's office and residence on Monday.

"The results of that review ... indicate that Cohen is in fact performing little to no legal work, and that zero emails were exchanged with President Donald Trump", the filing states.

"Attorney Davidson never consented to any recordings of his conversations with Mr. Cohen", a spokesman for Davidson told CNN.

While Trump had the "utmost interest" in ensuring that the process of preserving attorney-client privilege was respected, so did the public - and anyone who has ever sought legal counsel, Hendon said.

The court documents on Friday say that investigators have been focused on Cohen's "personal business dealings," not his work as an attorney on behalf of Trump.

Whatever the judge decided, Hendon noted, would have to "withstand scrutiny for all time".

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

In any case, as previously reported, all seized materials are subject to review by a special "taint team" (make your own joke) to make sure they're not protected.

Prosecutor Thomas McKay, who agreed to do nothing with the seized materials until Monday's hearing, told Wood that Trump should get no special privileges.

She also stated that the government's actions raised unspecified "fairness issues" toward its investigation.

Another lawyer also sought to make his case during the later hearing: Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti. Russian Federation has denied meddling in the election and Trump has said there was no collusion. They also argue that Daniels, too, would be prejudiced, because, they write, she "likely would be unable to obtain the documents and deposition testimony that she is seeking from Mr. Cohen" - presumably because he would invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege.

Cohen, who has denied wrongdoing, has been at the center of a controversy surrounding a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Her firm, Spears & Imes, was retained on Wednesday, she said, adding that she'd had just two hours notice of the arguments. Her allegation was based on a February 13 statement by Cohen that she said hurt her reputation.

Though Wood ultimately granted Cohen's team additional time, she referred to the prosecution's concerns as "well-taken".

Public corruption prosecutors in the USA attorney's office in Manhattan are trying to determine, according to one person familiar with the investigation, if there was any fraud related to payments to McDougal or Clifford.

In addition to searching Cohen's office and hotel room, prosecutors also obtained warrants to seize material from his cellphones, tablet, laptop and a safe-deposit box, according to people briefed on the warrants.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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