President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is currently under investigation by the US Justice Department for his business dealings.
“Today, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” said Stephen Ryan, his lawyer.
The FBI raided Cohen’s home, hotel room and office on Monday, April 9. Documents such as emails and business records were seized during the raid.
“That is really now on a whole new level of unfairness,” said Trump, who also called the raid a “witch hunt.”
Some of the seized documents include recordings between Cohen and the attorney representing Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels. Both women have been in the news recently for their alleged affairs with Trump.
The warrant used by the FBI also covered investigation for bank and wire fraud, as well as issues with campaign finance.
“I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller,” said Ryan, in the statement. “… It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients. These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
Trump has spoken about the thought of firing Mueller since the raid.
“We’ll see what may happen,” said Trump. “Many people have said you should fire him.”
As of now, prosecutors on the side of the FBI in the case have created “taint” or “filter team” to review Cohen’s documents without breaching any confidentiality. The creation of a filter team is a standard process. Cohen’s lawyers have also requested to see the material, but their request was denied by the court. Lawyers from the Trump Organization have also asked to throw out all communication between the business, its employees and Cohen.
“It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his client,” said Ryan, also calling the searches search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”
Much of the public is focused on the documents found in relation to Clifford. Clifford has claimed that representatives for Trump threatened her, giving her hush money in order to keep her silent on the alleged affair. One of the documents seized by the FBI is supposedly a recording of a phone call between Clifford’s lawyer and Cohen. Cohen has also acknowledged that he gave money to Clifford around the time of the 2016 election but denies it being for reasons related to Trump
“Among other things, President Trump has publicly denied knowing that Cohen paid Clifford, and suggested to reporters that they had to “ask Michael” about the payment,” said prosecutors in a footnote in the filing of a Clifford related document. The footnote was filed with a Clifford related document taken in the FBI raid.