The 90-minute hearing before Manhattan U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood focused on a request from Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, to have either his own team or a court-appointed special master take over from prosecutors the review of what materials seized from his office this week were protected by lawyer-client privilege. He continued to struggle to hire a new criminal lawyer, and some of his own aides were reluctant to advise him about a response for fear of being dragged into a criminal investigation themselves...
At a hearing Manhattan federal courtroom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McKay accused Cohen of trying to cover up behind a legal philosophy known as attorney-client privilege in order to avoid disclosing materials about the president as well as additional scenarios.
Ordinarily, documents or communications seized from a lawyer by FBI agents would be reviewed by a team of Justice Department lawyers not directly involved in the investigation to determine which documents were relevant to the probe, and which should be off-limits to investigators because of attorney-client privilege.
The recordings could prove valuable to the government's criminal investigation of Michael Cohen.
Zeldin said a conversation between attorneys for different clients would most likely not be considered covered by attorney-client privilege.
"The government is investigating whether there was, in connection with Trump's White House bid, a conspiracy to commit fraud and extortion for the goal of silencing potentially compromising sources - specifically, people in a position to portray Donald Trump as a womanizer", McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, said.
While Cohen has admitted to no wrongdoing, the intensity of the government's investigation will put significant pressure on one of the President's closest confidants.
"Among other things, President Trump has publicly denied knowing that Cohen paid Clifford, and suggested to reporters that they had to "ask Michael" about the payment", the footnote argues, citing a story by CNN's Kevin Liptak.
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She added that she was anxious about the "appearance of fairness", given the stakes. "This has to be done right", she said.
Referring to Trump, McKay said: "His attorney-client privilege is no stronger than anyone else who seeks legal advice".
"We want to ensure the documents do not disappear or that there's a control set that's maintained regardless of who reviews the documents", he added.
Cohen, however, said the officials who conducted the raid had been courteous and professional. Her allegation was based on a February 13 statement by Cohen that she said hurt her reputation.
Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of campaign laws, according to people familiar with the matter.
In addition to searching Cohen's office and hotel room, prosecutors also obtained warrants to seize material from his cellphones, tablet, laptop and a safe-deposit box, according to people briefed on the warrants.