A lawyer representing Trump said told Judge Kimba Wood at the hearing that she is worried about the plan by prosecutors to have a “taint team” of independent federal lawyers review the material to determine what information from the raids is permissible for disclosure to prosecutors who are actually handling the case. Some, if not all, of that material relates to Trump.
Federal prosecutors “would not be my first choice for that role,” said Trump’s lawyer, Joanna Hendon, who revealed that the president had only hired her for the case two full days after the raids on Cohen’s office and hotel room.
Hendon said she believed “my client,” Trump, “should be allowed” to make arguments about who will get to review the evidence seized from Cohen. Hendon said the privilege in the attorney-client privilege belongs to Trump, not to Cohen.
Hendon said she had seen neither Cohen’s sealed motion, nor the response to it filed Friday by prosecutors. She noted “the exceptional nature of my client,” and her concern that Trump’s interests could be damaged if the review of Cohen’s files is mishandled.
“He is the president of the United States,” Hendon said. “The issues are so weighty. … We need more time.”
She added: “What’s at stake? The viability of the prosecution.”
In Monday raids, FBI agents seized evidence related to Cohen’s $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for what Daniels has said was her silence about a purported sexual encounter with Trump. Prosecutors also are reportedly eyeing payments to another woman who claims she had sex with Trump more than a decade ago, along with other issues related to Cohen.
Thomas McKay, a federal prosecutor in the case, pushed back hard at the requests by both Cohen’s lawyer and Hendon. McKay said he objected to them seeking to delay the prosecution’s review of the evidence more than three full days after the raids occurred.
“It’s just another attempt at delay,” McKay griped.
McKay also said that Trump was entitled to no more deference in the review of his lawyer’s files than any other person.