Cohen’s lawyers say 12,000 seized files should be withheld

Cohen's lawyers say 12,000 seized files should be withheld

June 26 (UPI) — Michael Cohen’s lawyers on Monday argued more than 12,000 files seized April 9 during an FBI raid should be protected, citing attorney-client and work product privileges.

Special counsel Robert Mueller executed the raid to find information about a $130,000 payment Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, made to porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. Daniels has said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006, which the president has denied.

Attorneys for Cohen said in a court filing that of the 4 million files seized in the raid, more than 12,000 should be considered privileged. Trump’s lawyers have until Wednesday to conduct a review of the seized material similar to that carried out by Cohen’s legal team.

Cohen is under investigation in the Southern District of New York for possible bank fraud and campaign finance law violations, including the payment to Daniels.

Former federal judge Barbara Jones, a court-appointed special master, will decide the matter.

Earlier this month, a federal judge refused to grant Cohen a gag order against Daniels’ attorney. Cohen said Michael Avenatti’s public appearances could undermine his ability to get a fair trial.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid the money by Cohen through a company called Essential Consultants weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep silent about the allegations.

Cohen acknowledged the payment, and Trump has said he reimbursed Cohen through a monthly retainer.