Update II: Cohen’s lawyer is now calling for a delay, arguing that she didn’t have enough time to prepare for the meeting.
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Update: Twenty minutes into Cohen’s hearing and US District Judge Kimba Wood has declared that it’s the government’s view that a “taint team” should look through the documents collected by the FBI and determine which documents are subject to attorney-client privilege and which are shielded.
As we pointed out the other day, in cases like this, it’s standard DOJ practice to appoint a nonpartial group of lawyers and agents to comb through the documents and decide what is privileged and what is not.
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Last night, Business Insider reported that Michael Cohen’s predilection for keeping digital recordings of his conversations with associates could become a major problem for him – and a major boon for investigators – should the FBI find anything incriminating on the tapes.
Which is perhaps why Cohen is seeking a temporary restraining order against the FBI to stop them from using some or all of the seized materials, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Cohen is planning to ask a judge to delay the civil lawsuit filed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels because of the FBI raid and Cohen’s newfound legal troubles.
Trump and Cohen say the criminal case “implicates” Cohen’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination if he were questioned in the Daniels case, according to a filing in Los Angeles federal court.
“No decision has been made for Mr. Cohen to assert his Fifth Amendment rights,” Brent Blakely, a lawyer for Cohen, said in an email. “No questions have even been posed.”
Daniels sued to undo a non-disclosure agreement she signed in 2016 that she said was intended to silence her about a sexual encounter she had with Trump a decade earlier. Cohen has said that he paid $130,000 to Daniels out of his own pocket just before the presidential election and that he wasn’t reimbursed.
CNN reported this morning that Cohen taped copious conversations with other Trump associates during the campaign – and that these recordings are almost certainly now in the hands of the FBI. Some of those people are now worried that their conversations could incriminate them as well.
A hearing on the searches has been set for 10:30 am ET in a Manhattan federal courthouse.
Since news of the raid broke on Wednesday, details about what the investigators were looking for have slowly trickled out. Aside from materials related to the purported “silencing” of Stormy Daniels and former Playmate Karen MacDougal, the FBI was also reportedly looking for evidence of a $30,000 payment Cohen facilitated to a former Trump property doorman reportedly to stop him from spreading a rumor about a lovechild Trump allegedly fathered with an employee at one of his properties, the AP reported.