Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump Worlds Collide as Cohen Meets Stormy Daniels in New York Court

Trump Worlds Collide as Cohen Meets Stormy Daniels in New York Court

NEW YORK - On Monday, a federal judge blocked President Donald Trump's and his longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen's request to prohibit federal prosecutors from reviewing documents they seized during an FBI raid of Cohen's property last week. The case is over a, 000 payment made to her as part of a 2016 agreement to stop her from discussing a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump nearly a decade ago. On Monday, a team of federal agents had obtained search warrants for Cohen's home and office, following a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, as part of the US attorney's office's months-long criminal conduct investigation. The attorneys clashed over who should be able to see records seized last week in an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on Cohen's home, hotel room, and offices. On Sunday, her attorney, Michael Avenatti said on CNN that he got "comfortable with the security plan last night for my client" and that she plans to attend the hearing.

Avenatti had tweeted on Friday about Cohen's ordered appearance with a comment that the "weather forecast for Monday looks very Stormy".

The federal raid, carried out a week ago in New York City, sought bank records, information on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments he made in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and to Daniels, both of whom allege relationships with Trump, people familiar with the raid told the Associated Press.

The documents were seized on 9 April from Michael Cohen's office and from his NY hotel room, as part of a series of investigations examining some of his actions, Efe News reported.

The disclosure came as Cohen's attorneys tried to persuade a federal judge in NY to delay prosecutors from examining records and electronic devices seized in the raids on the grounds that many of them are protected by attorney-client privilege. If you go back and watch Hannity's coverage of the Cohen raid, knowing that he has skin in the game, "we can see that Hannity wasn't just mad, he was scared", Noah said, playing some clips. Daniels is entangled in a separate civil battle with U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.

On his radio show Monday, Hannity said, "I never retained him in the traditional sense" and said he believed his conversations about legal questions were confidential.

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Last week's raids came after a "months-long" investigation of possible crimes related largely to Cohen's business dealings, rather than his work as a lawyer, prosecutors have said. Cohen's attorneys told the court he had three clients from 2017 to 2018, including the president and GOP financier Elliott Broidy, but they refused to name the third in public. Cohen never billed him and never represented him in any matter involving a third party, Hannity said.

We'll have more details up shortly.

It is unusual but not unprecedented for criminal investigators to seize documents from a lawyer, and there is a policy in place created to shield information covered by the attorney-client privilege.

"I have faith in the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office that their integrity is unimpeachable", Wood said during the hearing.

The issue before Judge Wood is, at least for now, a relatively narrow one: Who should be the first to read the seized material and thus be in a position to decide if any of them should be excluded from the case and avoid further scrutiny - the taint team, a special master appointed by the court, or Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump themselves? Trump himself has denied knowing anything about Cohen's efforts to pay off his accusers, and has also denied the affairs.

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