A New York federal judge on Monday dismissed an urgent motion filed by Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s lawyer, demanding that documents seized during house searches be examined by his own advisers in order to preserve the prevailing professional secrecy between a lawyer and his clients.
The lawyer, who admitted to having paid US $130,000 to a adult film actress who said she had had an extramarital affair with Donald Trump in 2006, argues that prosecutors can not file documents that may be covered by the case. professional secret.
After a spectacular two and a half hour hearing at the Manhattan courthouse, which included actress Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, Judge Kimba Wood said her request was “premature”.
She noted that the prosecutors’ proposal was a “viable option”. The latter wish that the seized documents be examined within the walls of the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office by a team of specially recruited lawyers for the sole purpose of saying which are exploitable, which are not, because they are covered by professional secrecy.
But she also said that the option proposed by Cohen’s lawyers “could play a role in this case”, since they request the appointment of a “special master”, or independent master advisor, who would be responsible for this task.
Before adjourning the hearing, Judge Wood ordered prosecutors to provide Cohen’s lawyers by the next hearing with a copy of the documents seized by FBI agents during the April 9th searches of the offices. and at Michael Cohen’s home.
The lawyer, who has been under criminal investigation for several months, presents himself as Trump’s handyman.
He has been at the center of a controversy since he acknowledged last February that he had paid Stormy Daniels $ 130,000 , a sum taken, he says, on his personal finances, in exchange for his silence shortly before the November 2016 presidential election.
The actress had said in 2011 in an interview with the weekly In Touch had an affair with Trump after meeting him in a golf tournament in 2006. The latter denied.
The lawyer says it was a “private transaction” on his own – Trump said he was not informed – and said it was not a campaign expense. A line disputed, since the actress claims that this sum was paid to him in exchange for his silence.
A Fox News host in the set
Cohen also appears in the investigation by the special prosecutor Robert Mueller on a possible collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign team before the 2016 election.
When he left the hearing, the lawyer did not say anything.
Stormy Daniels, for a long time stopped at the cameras, reaffirming her determination that “everyone discovers the truth and the facts that have occurred”. “I will not stop until that’s the case,” she added.
In this decidedly unusual case where there is a US president, his lawyer and a porn star, a new name appeared at Monday’s hearing: that of Sean Hannity, star host of the Fox channel News. Cohen had to reveal that he was one of his clients.
Hannity, at the top of the cable channel audiences on his evening slot, is a strong supporter of Trump, who does not fail to boast about his qualities.
On 9 April, on the night of the Cohen raids, Hannity said the FBI agents’ intervention was part of a plan to falsely remove the 45th President of the United States. He did not mention his relationship with the lawyer.
After his name was added to the list of actors in this case, he said Monday night had “sporadic and brief discussions” with the lawyer “almost exclusively focused on real estate issues.”
He added that he never spoke with Cohen about a “third party” and, on his show, was amused by the inflamed media reactions to the announcement that he and the president had the same lawyer.