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Raid on Trump's Lawyer Sought Records on 'Access Hollywood' Tape
15 April 2018, 04:23 | Erica Roy
Investigators' interest in Cohen's records related to that incident was first reported by the New York Times. Those emails, they said, indicated that Cohen was "performing little to no legal work, and that zero emails were exchanged with President Trump".
An attorney for the president, Joanna Hendon, appeared as well, telling the judge that Trump has "an acute interest in these proceedings and the manner in which these materials are reviewed". "If they're specifically going after communications between the president and Cohen, it confirms the investigation does relate to the president in some way", said Randall Eliason, who teaches white-collar criminal law at George Washington University Law School. I think the public is a close second.
McKay, the assistant USA attorney, told the judge that he believed the proceedings were an attempt to delay the processing of seized material.
"The issues here are straightforward", he said. Legal experts said Trump's communications with Cohen that do not involve seeking legal advice would not be covered by that protection.
The disclosure comes a day after it was revealed that the authorities also sought documents from Mr. Cohen related to payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, as well as information on the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in silencing the women.
The court hearing today didn't provide new insight into why agents seized the items, but the judge, prosecutors and the attorneys all spoke openly about an investigation that previously has been shrouded in secrecy.
The search warrant also sought evidence of whether the lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, tried to suppress damaging information about Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. CNN previously reported Federal Bureau of Investigation agents removed Cohen's computer, cell phone, business files and financial documents, according to the source.
Trump has denied relationships with both Daniels and McDougal.
Clifford's lawyer, Michael Avenatti, was in the audience for the court session and asked the judge to be heard at 2 p.m.
Trump has called the raids a "witch hunt", "an attack on our country", and a violation of rules that ordinarily make attorney client communications confidential.
"In the process of asking for that, they have to demonstrate why it is likely evidence of a crime", said Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor who is executive director of Columbia Law School's Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity.
Prosecutors blacked out sections of their legal memo in which they described what laws they believe Cohen has broken, but the document provided new clues about an investigation the US attorney's office in Manhattan had previously declined to confirm existed.
Rumors continue to swirl whether Trump will fire Mueller or Rod Rosenstein, but so far the White House has not confirmed that.
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