Sunday, 15 July, 2018


Federal Bureau of Investigation probing Cohen's "personal business dealings"

Federal Bureau of Investigation probing Cohen's Federal Bureau of Investigation probing Cohen's "personal business dealings"
Patty Aguilar | 15 April, 2018, 12:35

In the filing with a court in NY, prosecutors blacked out a section describing what crime they believe Trump attorney Michael Cohen has committed.

They also made clear that investigators have been gathering extensive evidence for some time as part of an ongoing grand jury investigation.

They also downplayed the scope of potential privilege, saying they had before Monday secretly searched multiple email accounts belonging to Cohen, and which they said indicated that Cohen "is in fact performing little to no legal work".

Trump's statements "have exacerbated his problems severely", Super added.

In a footnote, the prosecutors wrote that although the investigation was referred to prosecutors in NY by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, it was proceeding independently.

Before the adjournment, lawyers for Trump and Cohen told a federal judge in NY that they believe some of the documents and devices seized from Cohen during an FBI raid are protected by attorney-client privilege, and they want a chance to review the material before prosecutors get to examine them.

A hearing on the searches has been set for 10.30am local time on Friday in a Manhattan federal court, the courthouse said.

Lawyers for President Donald Trump and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, have told a federal judge in NY that they believe some of the documents and devices seized from Cohen during an FBI raid are protected by attorney-client privilege, and they want a chance to review the material before prosecutors get to examine them.

An attorney for the president, Joanna Hendon, told the judge that Trump has "an acute interest in this matter".

Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, wants to be freed from a nondisclosure agreement under which she was paid $130,000 shortly before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about that encounter.

"You'll have to ask Michael Cohen", he said.

Andrew Hall, who represented former Nixon adviser John Ehrlichman during the Watergate scandal, offered a succinct summary of the distinction: "If a client goes to a lawyer and confesses, "I committed a crime, I stole money, I shot somebody, I killed somebody"-whatever the crime is, it doesn't matter". "We've given, I believe, over a million pages' worth of documents to the special counsel", he told the reporters.

"The banking question may be a bigger issue than the campaign-finance issues", said Fred Wertheimer, who runs the watchdog group Democracy 21.

Public corruption prosecutors in the US 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 Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. Cohen has steadfastly denied wrongdoing in his $130,000 payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and has publicly defended Trump, but he has confided in associates that he is fearful of being a fall guy, according to a person familiar with his thinking but not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.

Friday's hearing was scheduled after Cohen's lawyers applied the prior evening for the first chance to decide which documents were relevant to Mueller's investigation. Not since Michael Flynn has any individual's plight so inflamed Trump, and in that case he fired FBI Director James Comey, eventually triggering the special counsel's appointment. He did not disclose the reason for the court proceeding.

Clifford's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, spoke briefly in court.

Asked on Monday after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raids if he would fire Mueller, Trump replied, "We'll see what happens". (He also took the time to complain to the reporters that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from the Russian investigation and that Hillary Clinton was not being investigated for "the frightful things that she did and all of the crimes that were committed.") He sounded as if he were trying to build a case for dismissing the special counsel, referring to Mueller and his investigators as "the most biased group of people".

Such an order would be sought to stop the government from using seized materials, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

McDougal was paid $150,000 in the summer of 2016 by the parent company of the National Enquirer under an agreement that gave it the exclusive rights to her story, which it never published.

The Post said it was unclear if Cohen had taped any conversations with Trump.

The White House has consistently said Trump denies either affair.

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