Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Trump Lawyer Cohen Reportedly Seeking Restraining Order Over FBI Raids

Trump Lawyer Cohen Reportedly Seeking Restraining Order Over FBI Raids

President Donald Trump and his lawyer Michael Cohen on Friday asked a California federal judge to stay a lawsuit filed by Stephanie Clifford, known as porn star Stormy Daniels, because the men believe it could implicate Cohen's Fifth Amendment rights amid a pending criminal investigation.

Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"[Fusion GPS] recklessly placed it beyond their control and allowed it to fall into the hands of media devoted to breaking news on the hottest subject of the day: the Trump candidacy", read the lawsuit filed in NY state court.

Cohen also figures in the Trump-Russia investigation through his efforts, in 2015 and early 2016, to help Trump secure a licensing deal for construction of a Moscow high rise. In addition to searching his home, office and hotel room, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents seized material from Cohen's cellphones, tablet, laptop and safe deposit box, according to people briefed on the warrants. Previous search warrants allowed NY federal prosecutors to search multiple email accounts, the filing said.

The prosecutors assert that they have confidence that any seized material would not fall under the significant amount of attorney-client privilege that Cohen has claimed. "There's been no finding of wrong doing against Michael Cohen either", said White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary. Cohen's team, he said, was "delaying a government investigation because they can't come up with the facts to justify their case".

Before Trump's election, Cohen spent nearly a decade in high-profile positions in Trump's real-estate company and built a reputation as Trump's fixer. Mueller's office referred the case about his business dealings to NY but hasn't been involved since, the Manhattan prosecutors said.

Trump's tweet on the matter comes nearly a week after Cohen was raided, with the president having previously made it clear he was deeply unhappy about the raid.

Cohen is also at the center of a legal dispute over alleged hush money payouts given to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges a sexual encounter with Trump over a decade ago. Records related to Cohen's taxi medallion business were also sought. According to documents provided by Avenatti, Cohen used his Trump Organization email address to facilitate the payment to Daniels.

"She also wants to ensure that she is heard and that she's represented at the hearing".

Outlets say a hearing to address Cohen's restraining order request is scheduled for Friday. Cohen did not appear in court Friday morning and has not been charged with a crime.

The Justice Department is asking for a so-called taint team to vet the material seized in the raids Monday, as is standard process. "All lawyers are deflated and concerned!" the president tweeted on Sunday.

"It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his client", attorney Stephen Ryan said in the statement. The news service, quoting anonymous sources, reports that Mueller can prove Cohen visited Prague in 2016 in the midst of the election. Cohen said the payment, which was made 11 days before the 2016 presidential election, was a private transaction, and claimed that neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was involved.

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