by Brett Samuels · April 15, 2018
Lawyers for President Trump wrote a federal judge on Sunday asking her to halt federal prosecutors from reviewing documents seized in Michael Cohen’s office and home, arguing that the Department of Justice cannot fairly evaluate the materials.
A trio of lawyers for the president wrote to Judge Kimba Wood in the Southern District of New York to request Trump and Cohen be allowed to identify privileged communications prior to a fuller review.
Trump’s lawyers – Joanna Hendon, Christopher Dysard and Reed Keefe – wrote that potentially privileged information was seized during the raid. They argue that Trump should be able to review those documents before a taint team made up of federal agents and prosecutors to ensure his right to attorney-client privilege.
“The President, the public, and the government have a vital interest in ensuring the integrity of the privilege review process, and the taint team procedure is plainly inadequate to the task,” the lawyers wrote, according to a copy of the letter published by Talking Points Memo.
“There is, as well, cause for concern that a taint team could not evaluate Mr. Cohen’s files (and, in particular, those relating to the president) fairly,” they continued, arguing that prosecutors would be disinclined to see certain communications as privileged.
Trump has criticized his own Justice Department on multiple occasions, focusing on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and special counsel Robert Mueller in particular.
Cohen, who has worked as Trump’s lawyer for years, had his office and hotel room raided last week. He is reportedly under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance law violations.
Federal agents reportedly seized bank records, communications between Cohen and Trump, and documents related to related to payments to two women who alleged they had an affair with the president more than a decade ago.
Prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrants for the raid “in part” based on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, which prompted President Trump to launch a series of attacks on Mueller and his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The Hill · by Brett Samuels · April 15, 2018