Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney for Donald Trump both before and during his presidency, is in court today following the high-profile raid on his offices last week that resulted in the seizure of multiple forms of evidence, including business records, tax documents, and even audio recordings for the FBI to use in its criminal investigation of his business practices.
During and shortly after the raid, it was widely assumed that it pertained to Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe with the special counsel appointed by Rod Rosenstein. After it was revealed that the FBI raid was the result of a separate probe entirely, Cohen began to panic and fret about what, exactly, agents had gotten their hands on during the seizure.
After a brief stay allowed by the Southern New York District Court Judge due to unpreparedness on the part of a brand new lawyer fired by Trump on Wednesday to assist Cohen in his personal matter — indicating that Trump feels he has a stake in even an investigation of Cohen outside the Russia probe — Cohen was forced to appear today, finally facing off in person with Stormy Daniels and her own lawyer, Michael Avenatti.
As part of the hearing, the judge in the case ordered Cohen to surrender his client list — apart from those we know, like Trump — and he appeared to in advance of the hearing.
But once the doors closed behind him in the courtroom, it was a different story. Cohen and his lawyers refused to turn over the requested names, saying that clients had demanded anonymity, and that his duty was to his clients, not to the court.
That does not, as I’m sure you can imagine, fly for most judges. This will open the door for the New York case to result immediately in a contempt citation, if not temporary incarceration.
The new lawyer brought on by Trump, Joanna Hendon, argued that the president himself should be the first to review any evidence that the FBI agents gathered in the raid, in order to determine what materials should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Trump Organization lawyers were also present at today’s hearing.
That laughable request was denied.
This story is ongoing, and will be updated as necessary.
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