Trump lawyer under investigation for 'personal business dealings': DOJ
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Apr 14, 2018,
Apr 14, 2018, 21:20
Donald Trump and his family business tried on Friday to stop the U.S. justice department from viewing communications between them and their attorney Michael Cohen that were seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a criminal inquiry into Cohen.
In a court hearing before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, Cohen's lawyers asked to examine the seized documents and electronic devices.
Cohen has not been charged with a crime.
The document noted that speculation about the genesis of the raid on Cohen coming out of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation was false.
Federal prosecutors revealed on Friday that Cohen has been the subject of a criminal investigation for months.
McKay argued that a so-called "Filter Team" from the justice department should be allowed to check all the seized documents for possible privilege.
As part of the grand jury probe, they wrote, investigators had already searched multiple email accounts maintained by Cohen.
Also, there are reports Cohen has told people Trump is his only client, which if true would mean he didn't have privilege with any of his other communications or recordings either. He called Mueller's investigation "an attack on our country". Mueller's office referred the case about his business dealings to NY but hasn't been involved since, the Manhattan prosecutors said.
It doesn't appear the raid was directly tied to Mueller's investigation.
Davidson represented two women who President Donald Trump is alleged to have had extramarital affairs with: adult actress Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
Cohen started his legal career as a personal injury attorney in New York City, before entering the city's taxi business with his Ukrainian-born father-in-law, amassing a fleet of more than 200 taxis. The tape was eventually leaked days before the election, but investigators are reportedly looking to determine if Cohen made any efforts to hide the tape from airing.
Prosecutors said they believe Cohen has exceedingly few clients and a low volume of potentially privileged communications.
According to CNN, Cohen told photographers who captured him smoking cigars with his friends to send all the great pictures they'd taken of him to his mother.
Prosecutors emphasized that their investigation was focused on Cohen's business dealings, not his work as a lawyer.
In the filing with a court in NY, prosecutors blacked out a section describing what crime they believe Trump attorney Michael Cohen has committed.
Cohen's lawyers will need to turn over the requested material by 10 a.m. Monday, and court will reconvene at 2 p.m. -with Cohen himself seated at the counsel's table.
The details in court papers came as lawyers for Cohen and Trump sought to block the Department of Justice from examining records and electronic devices, including two cellphones, seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday from Cohen's residences, office and safety deposit box.
"She resisted the idea that Cohen's lawyers, a special master" or a "taint team" favoured by prosecutors should decide what becomes public.
Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, referred to his earlier description of the raid as "completely inappropriate and unnecessary". Attorneys for Cohen have requested to have the entire proceedings sealed and kept private.
"I know that the President worked with him as a personal attorney".