The longtime personal lawyer of President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen, was attacked by a US Senator on Friday for the claims he made. His home and office had been raided by the FBI this week as part of a criminal investigation and he claimed that many of the materials that were sized should be kept private. In a court filing made on Friday, the prosecutors confirmed that Cohen has been under investigation for months mostly for his business dealings and not due to his business work.
There is uncertainty about exactly what information was taken from Cohen’s office. This comes at a time when Trump is facing an intensifying investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to figure out if his presidential campaign had colluded with Russia. The FBI conducted the raids on Cohen’s office partly due to the referral from Mueller’s office. In Manhattan, US District Judge Kimba Wood ordered Trump’s lawyer to make an appearance in court on Monday afternoon.
Three hearings were held on Friday into a request made by Michael Cohen for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would block prosecutors from reviewing the documents seized. The lawyer was accused by assistant US Attorney Tom McKay of trying to make far-fetched claims about attorney-client privilege. He said that Cohen was trying to prevent the allegedly privileged communications related to Trump and other cases from being revealed.
These could also include the claims made by adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who had claimed to have a sexual relationship with the president in 2006. Daniels, who’s actual name is Stephanie Clifford, wants to break free of a non-disclosure agreement. Shortly before the presidential election in 2016, Clifford had signed the NDA and received $130,000 for keeping quiet about the encounter with Trump.
Cohen doesn’t want to violate the rights of his clients for shielding communications with their attorneys. Therefore, he wants Wood to allow a ‘special master’ to review the materials taken from his office and home to choose what can be turned over. Todd Harrison, Cohen’s own lawyer told the judge that there were a lot of privileged communications involved. However, McKay told Wood that it wasn’t possible to use the rule of attorney-client privilege as a shield and sword simultaneously.
He asserted that Cohen was trying to use this privilege to challenge the ability of the government to review evidence that had been obtained lawfully. McKay said that Cohen’s inability to provide facts about what information was privileged automatically killed his request for a TRO. Daniel’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti said at one of the hearings that some of the seized materials might also pertain to his clients and her interests need to be protected.
Joanna Hendon, a new lawyer for Trump also spoke to Woods and stated that the president had ‘an acute interest’ in the matter. According to Hendon, she was hired by Trump on Wednesday evening. She urged the judge to make a decision about who gets the first chance to view the seized material after she files a brief on Sunday night.