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Judge Extends Evidence Deadline For Cohen Team On Attorney-Client Privilege

15 April 2018

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.

A NY federal district court spokesman says there will be a hearing related to the search warrant executed this week for records belonging to President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

The wide-ranging criminal investigation into Michael Cohen is said to have left President Donald Trump more rattled than the Russian Federation investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. The raids were partly a referral by Mueller's office.

The hearing concerned a motion by Cohen seeking an order restraining federal prosecutors from using materials seized in Monday's FBI raid of his office, home and hotel room.

These may include claims by Stormy Daniels, the filmstar who asserted to have had a sexual experience in 2006.

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.

"His attorney-client privilege is no stronger than anyone else who seeks legal advice", McKay told Wood.

Cohen had already notified US District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday that he meant to request a stay in Daniels' lawsuit against him and Trump "on the grounds that an ongoing criminal investigation overlaps with the facts of this case".

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Avenatti spoke outside the court at Friday's hearing and then followed with a suggestive tweet that "the weather forecast for Monday looks very Stormy".

And he's barely doing any "legal work" for Trump, either, they claim.

Hendon, who said Trump hired her on Wednesday evening, urged Wood not to decide who gets first shot to review seized documents until after she files a brief by Sunday night.

Hendon asked the magistrate, US District Judge Kimba Wood, to have the DOJ delay looking at the records until the matter could be resolved. Justice Department regulations require prosecutors to have a "taint team" not involved in the underlying investigation to sift through seized materials and make sure prosecutors don't see things that aren't relevant or are protected by lawyer-client privilege.

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". Only attorney-client materials are shielded by the privilege - and then there are exceptions involving crime or fraud - and prosecutors say they have not recovered any communications between Cohen and Trump.

Herndon, Trump's lawyer, said that after the process is resolved, the ultimate outcome on what documents are deemed unprivileged may produce new litigation.

A source familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had also seized recordings Cohen made of his communications with Keith Davidson, who had represented both Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Judge Extends Evidence Deadline For Cohen Team On Attorney-Client Privilege