The Latest: Judge appoints former judge as special master
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on maneuvers by lawyers trying to negotiate who will get to view materials seized in April 9 raids on the home and office of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer (all times local):
A New York federal judge says she is appointing a former Manhattan federal judge to help determine what materials seized in raids on the home and office of President Donald Trump’s private attorney are protected by attorney-client privilege.
Judge Kimba Wood said Thursday at a hearing that Barbara Jones has the right amount of experience to handle the study of materials seized in the April 9 raids that targeted attorney Michael Cohen.
Jones was a federal judge in New York for 17 years before leaving for private practice five years ago.
The judge noted that the government and Cohen’s lawyers agreed that a so-called “special master” was the best way to determine which materials should be off-limits to federal investigators.
Prosecutors have said the raids resulted from an investigation into possible fraud.
Federal prosecutors are now fully behind the appointment of a neutral special master to decide what materials seized from President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer should be shielded by attorney-client privilege.
Prosecutors notified U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood on Thursday of their position ahead of a noon hearing on the matter.
They say Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, wants to screen all materials seized in the April 9 raids on his home and office before prosecutors are able to view them as part of a criminal fraud investigation.
Prosecutors say probably not much is protected by attorney-client privilege given public comments made by Trump and Fox News personality Sean Hannity, two of Cohen’s three clients.
They note that Hannity said Cohen never represented him and Trump said Cohen did “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work.
A lawyer for Donald Trump says the president is ready to offer his opinion on what evidence seized from his personal attorney’s home and office are protected by attorney-client privilege.
The lawyer, Joanna Hendon, informed U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood on Wednesday that Trump was available “as needed” to join reviews of documents seized in April 9 raids carried out against Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Prosecutors say the raids were part of a criminal fraud investigation.
Cohen was expected back in court on Thursday at a hearing called by the judge so she can find out exactly where everyone stands on the issue of reviewing seized materials for attorney-client privilege.
Lawyers for Cohen and the Trump Organization told the judge they have plenty of lawyers ready to do the work.