Judge releases documents from Cohen raid
by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/19/19, 11:42 am
More than 200 pages of documents that led to the April 2018 FBI raid on the office and home of Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, became public Tuesday. On Monday, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III ordered the release of redacted versions of the documents at the request of nine news organizations. The documents include a search warrant for the raid on Cohen’s office and papers the FBI seized.
The news organizations argued that the public had a strong interest in the material because it involves the integrity of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Prosecutors opposed the request, saying the disclosure would “jeopardize an ongoing investigation and prejudice the privacy rights of uncharged third parties.” Pauley ruled that parts of the documents could be redacted if they affected the investigations or compromised someone’s privacy. A section regarding Cohen’s campaign finance crimes for hush money payments to two women who claimed to have had extra-marital affairs with Trump is entirely redacted.
The documents also reveal that special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, opened an inquiry into Cohen well before the raid. Starting in July 2017, Mueller’s team and the FBI received a warrant to review Cohen’s email accounts and other data going back to 2016.
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said in a statement that the release only furthers “his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to law enforcement and Congress.” Cohen is helping the Mueller investigation as part of a plea agreement for lying to Congress about a Trump real estate deal in Moscow, among other crimes. He is due to begin a three-year prison sentence on May 6.
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Harvest is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a reporter for WORLD.