On Sunday night, President Trump asked a federal judge to let him to review documents that FBI agents seized from the office of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, before criminal investigators have a chance to see the material.
Cohen himself is also fighting to get a chance to review material seized as part of a criminal investigation of his business dealings, though since they took the documents from his home, hotel, and office, Cohen would be in a better position than anyone else to know what information the FBI now has.
Last week’s raid of Cohen’s office and residences infuriated the president, who argued on Twitter that attorney-client privilege “is dead.” Prosecutors have defended the search in part by saying that the investigation has shown that Cohen does not do much legal work and does not appear to have many clients.
On Monday afternoon, according to the Washington Post, lawyers for Cohen are expected to tell the judge overseeing the case how many legal clients he has and how many seized documents he thinks might be covered by attorney-client privilege.
The eight-page letter written by Trump’s lawyer, Joanna Hendon, accuses the Justice Department of acting in “an aggressive, intrusive, and unorthodox manner” in an attempt to “eliminate the president’s right to a full assertion of every privilege argument available to him.” It says that the president should have a chance to review the materials before investigators are allowed to look at them.
In court filings on Friday, prosecutors indicated that Cohen has been under criminal investigation for several months by the US attorney in Manhattan—and that a grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case.
Cohen is reportedly being investigated for bank and wire fraud. Prosecutors are examining whether crimes were committed as part of any pattern or strategy of trying to buy the silence of people who could offer accounts that could have damaged Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016.
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