Records Seized from Cohen may be Assessed by an Outside Party

The US President Donald Trump's plea to analyze the materials seized by government officials from the president's personal lawyer may not be granted by Kimba Wood, the US District Court Judge.  The judge, however, gave an indication that she may consent to the appointing of an outside attorney. The latter's work will be cut out.

Common attorney

Legal proceedings took a turn in this unique Cohen investigation where the president is actually fighting his own Department of Justice when it was revealed in the courtroom that the list of legal clients serviced by Cohen includes Sean Hannity, the Fox News commentator. The latter played down this relationship. During his show, he claimed that his interaction with Cohen was only a few legal queries on the issue of real estate. According to Hannity, he paid no fees to Cohen and no money changed hands.

This development, however, muddied the waters of the criminal investigation currently underway regarding Cohen, who is the president's long-time lawyer. FBI agents amped up the situation when hey barged into the lawyer's residence, office, and also hotel rooms. They seized documents and records. The lawyer's safe-deposit box was taken away. This was done as part of a probe conducted by the federal prosecutors to look into possible wire fraud and also bank fraud.

Attorney-client privilege

Attorneys acting for both Trump and Cohen put forward the argument that such seizures may result in violations of the attorney-client privilege. Federal prosecutors fought a pitched legal battle with Trump and Cohen's lawyers. The latter requested the judge to allow the president review all seized material prior to the investigators poring over it. Cohen's attorneys requested a full review of documents. If this is not possible, they asked the judge to have a special master appointed by the court to find out what kind of material is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Cohen's motion was not dismissed by Judge Wood. This was a setback for the prosecuting team as the judgment kept up the possibility of a third party examining the documents. Judge Wood did not arrive at a decision and said that she was thinking of appointing a suitable special master. This will be done to avoid any tendency of bias in this politically heavy case. The judge wanted more information before she rules in the case. Thomas McKay, the Assistant US Attorney, requested the judge to reject requests from both Cohen and President Trump.

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