Posted: 11:23 am Saturday, July 14th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
The former federal judge assigned to go through evidence seized in an April 9 raid on Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump, has now turned over a second large tranche of evidence to federal prosecutors, delivering another 883,634 items, bringing the total to over 2 million.
“A release of 883,634 items that were not designated Privileged, Partially Privileged or Highly Personal by the Plaintiff, Intervenors or Special Master was made to the Government today,” Special Master Barbara Jones wrote in a submission made late on Friday to a Federal Judge Kimba Wood.
Under an agreement involving federal prosecutors, Cohen, the President’s lawyers, and the Trump Organization, Jones has been weighing claims of attorney-client and personal privilege on the seized materials, determining what should be withheld from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Jones also made clear that additional evidence is likely to be handed over to prosecutors as well.
“The Special Master’s review of the remaining items is ongoing,” she wrote the court.
The surprise FBI raid on April 9 was executed after prosecutors told a federal magistrate in New York that Cohen was under investigation “for criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings.”
It still is not clear if there are any direct links to President Trump involved in this investigation, though Cohen’s involvement in the payment of ‘hush money’ to porn star Stormy Daniels – shortly before the 2016 election – has raised questions about possible violations of federal campaign finance laws.
Earlier this month, Cohen hired a new lawyer – Lanny Davis – who was once a lawyer for President Bill Clinton, as Cohen made clear in an interview with ABC News that his loyalties to President Trump would only go so far.
“I will not be a punching bag as part of anyone’s defense strategy,” Cohen told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview. “My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty, and always will.”
It’s not clear what the over 2 million items of evidence might include – as the information could contain anything from emails about picking up food for dinner to talking about a vacation – or, since Cohen evidently was seen as a ‘fixer’ for President Trump, there could be other items that draw closer scrutiny by investigators.
Cohen has not been charged with any crime at this point.
Cohen’s new lawyer, Davis, has already taken shots at President Trump’s lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, making it very clear that Cohen and Mr. Trump are not on the same legal team at this point.
“Michael Cohen has said it’s time for him to speak the truth and put his family and Country first,” Davis said earlier this week. “I am glad to help him.”
Back when the raid on Cohen was announced, the President tweeted, “Attorney-Client privilege is dead!”
President Trump has not said anything about the Cohen situation since a series of early May tweets, in which he said that Cohen had been hired to deal with “false and extortionist accusations” by porn star Stormy Daniels.
“Mr. Cohen, an attorney, received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign and having nothing to do with the campaign, from which he entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement,” the President tweeted.
“These agreements are very common among celebrities and people of wealth,” Mr. Trump added.