After months of investigation for bank and wire fraud, last Monday the FBI raided the home, office, hotel room and even the safety deposit box of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney. An unknown number of documents, audio recordings and emails were seized. Prosecutors tapped a “taint team” to go through the evidence to determine what is covered by attorney-client privilege and what can be turned over to the prosecution, an extraordinarily cautious move to protect everyone involved.
Late Sunday night, Donald Trump’s new attorney, Joanna Hendon, asked U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood to grant a highly unusual request—let Michael Cohen pour through it all to pull any evidence they consider to be off-limits due to attorney-client privilege. From the Washington Post:
She added that “the president respectfully requests” that the judge issue an order barring the taint team from conducting an initial review of the seized material and require the government to turn over a copy of that material to Cohen’s lawyers.
Then, the president wants the court to direct Cohen “to identify to the president all seized materials that relate to him in any way and to provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel,” according to the letter. Any disputes about what material was or wasn’t covered by the attorney-client privilege would then be decided by a judge, under the president’s proposal.
LOL! They want the person under criminal investigation to have the ability to go through the evidence that was lawfully seized in a criminal investigation and keep it from prosecutors under a pinky swear it is covered by attorney-client privilege. On Friday, prosecutors went hard, telling Judge Wood that Michael Cohen may not be a lawyer at all. From CNBC:
But the prosecutors say they have already conducted searches of Cohen’s email accounts, “covert until this point,” which they say “indicate that Cohen is in fact performing little to no legal work, and that zero emails were exchanged with President Trump.” […]
“(1) Cohen did not have an email address associated with the firm; (2) Cohen did not have access to the firm’s shared drives or document systems—and vice versa; (3) Cohen’s documents were to be kept in a locked filing cabinet; and (4) Cohen did not have access to any of the firm’s client files.”
Both Michael Cohen and Donald Trump are fighting like hell to keep that evidence from prosecutors. Trump, who claimed to know nothing of the Stormy Daniels payment under investigation, has been lashing out on Twitter.