A federal court filing reveals that President Donald Trump wants to review items that were seized from his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, during an FBI raid last week so that he can determine what, if anything, is protected by attorney-client privilege.
One of the president’s attorneys is requesting that a federal judge provide copies of what was seized from the FBI raid to Cohen so that he can identify anything that involves Trump – and then he wants to pass that information to Trump and his legal team so they can decide which materials are appropriate for FBI investigators to see, according to the filing dated Sunday, April 15.
Sunday’s court filing stems from a motion, by Cohen, for a temporary restraining order to stop federal investigators from reviewing what was collected in the search.
From NBC News: “A letter that Cohen’s lawyers sent to the court on Monday morning states that more than a dozen electronic devices and other items were seized. It also says Cohen worked for three clients providing legal advice during 2017 and 2018: Trump; GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, who had an extramarital affair and made a payment arranged by Cohen to a woman he had impregnated; and a client who was not identified.”
In raids like this one, a separate group of federal prosecutors, known as a “taint team” reviews what was collected, and they determine what does and does not fall under attorney-client privilege before the primary prosecutors have an opportunity to view what was obtained.
The court filing asks a Manhattan federal judge to block the review of the taint team until Cohen, Trump, and his legal team have a chance to go through the seized documents so they can remove “materials over which the president asserts privilege.” Trump and his team are asking that any debates over what’s covered by privilege should be determined by a judge.
Fox legal analyst and former judge Andre Napolitano told FOX & Friends hosts on Monday, “The government’s theory … is that Michael Cohen didn’t practice law. He was a fixer, he was a dirty trickster. And if he’s not practicing law – if he’s doing these other things, many of which are lawful, some of which are at the edge – there is no attorney-client privilege. And how are they going to prove that? The government going to put Michael Cohen on himself, on the witness stand today. And they’re going to grill him.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 16, 2018