Federal Bureau of Investigation raid of Trump lawyer linked 'Access Hollywood' tape

Previous reports indicated the Federal Bureau of Investigation took documents and other materials from Cohen in relation to the payment he made to an adult film actress who claimed she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

Lawyers for both Cohen and the president told a NY federal judge that the material is protected under attorney- client privilege.

Trump repeatedly denounced the raids as disgraceful.

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Though the raids on Cohen's office and hotel room were overseen by Khuzami, people close to Trump and Cohen regard the investigation as a surreptitious attempt by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to pry into Trump's personal life by using other prosecutors as his proxy.

Investigators also sought any communications Cohen had with Trump and campaign aides about "potential sources of negative publicity" in the lead-up to the election, the person said.

The investigation is being run by Robert Khuzami, a veteran federal prosecutor whose boss, Geoffrey Berman, is the interim USA attorney for the Southern District of NY.

The court hearing Friday didn't provide new insight into why agents seized the items, but the judge, prosecutors and the attorneys all spoke openly about an investigation that previously has been shrouded in secrecy.

The disclosure comes a day after it was revealed that the authorities also sought documents from Mr. Cohen related to payments made to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, as well as information on the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in silencing the women.

The judge said prosecutors believed either a special "taint team" of government lawyers should decide what evidence can be properly viewed by criminal prosecutors.

Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Trump love interest/porn star Stormy Daniels, also appeared at the courthouse asking to address the court Friday afternoon.

President Trump lashed out against the raid, calling it an attack on the country. He told Wood he had every reason to think some of the documents involved his client, and he asked to be heard when the hearing reconvenes. Daniels was paid $130,000 during the 2016 campaign.

  • Jacqueline Ellis