Federal prosecutors publicly acknowledged for the first time on Friday the seizure of documents from the offices of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney. Details are still only a rough outline so far as to what, specifically, has been taken as evidence, although the White House and many of Cohen’s clients fear that alleged recordings made by the attorney of conversations with them may be among the seizures.
But the big news today is that federal authorities are now confirming that the investigation of Cohen is independent of the Russia investigation and that Cohen has been under investigation for his own personal business practices for months now, according to ABC News.
This will come as both a shock and a source of new fury for Trump, who has been dependent on Cohen for his personal legal affairs for some time and has afforded Cohen an office near his own in Trump Tower as a close confidante for the last 12 years.
A new lawyer hired by Donald Trump on Wednesday night appeared in court on Friday on behalf of Cohen and the president in order to request a stay of any hearing regarding the seized evidence until “all parties” have a chance to determine whether the materials taken are privileged.
That stay was granted, but the hiring of Joanna Hendon, the president’s new lawyer, indicates two things: Number one, regardless of the fact that this investigation is specifically about Cohen’s personal dealings completely apart from the Russia investigation, Trump feels his interests must be represented in court as well, and number two, that Trump is getting increasingly nervous about his chances in court if he’s bringing in entirely new representation.
Ms. Hendon described Trump’s stake in the Cohen proceedings as an “acute interest.”
A lawyer for ABC News was able to successfully argue in court to keep “most” of the proceedings open to the public, saying “[this] is the most important hearing that’s happening today and the public has a right to know how the court is going to handle the search of the president’s lawyer’s documents.”
This story is breaking, and we will update as necessary.
Featured image via Opposition Report Gallery