Republican financier quits over reported mistress payout via Trump lawyer

Republican financier quits over reported mistress payout via Trump lawyer

Republican financier quits over reported mistress payout via Trump lawyer

A lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels argued in a court hearing on Friday that materials seized by federal investigators from US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, may concern the porn star, who claims the president slept with her.

In response to Cohen's motion to prevent prosecutors from using evidence collected in Monday's raids of his home and office, the United States attorney in NY asserted the raids were authorized by a federal judge to seek evidence of conduct "for which Cohen is under criminal investigation".

Depending on what was said, the call could be problematic for both men, as defence lawyers often advise their clients not to talk to each other during investigations.

The 90-minute hearing before Manhattan U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood focused on a request from Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, to have either his own team or a court-appointed special master take over from prosecutors the review of what materials seized from his office this week were protected by lawyer-client privilege. First, prosecutors revealed in court documents that the raiding of Cohen's home and office on Tuesday was spurred by a criminal investigation over his business dealings that has been going on for months, completely separate from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she was paid US$130,000 by Cohen to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump, and is fighting to lift the terms of the non-disclosure act, which she says was signed by Cohen but not by Trump.

And he's barely doing any "legal work" for Trump, either, they claim.

Cohen's lawyers, for their part, have asked to review the material for themselves, a proposal which the Manhattan prosecutors are fighting.

But when the judge demanded that Cohen's lawyers provide some proof that Cohen has any other clients beyond the commander in chief, they twice came back empty-handed.

On Friday, Cohen was seen spending time with a group of friends and smoking cigars.

Investigators traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany in August or September of 2016, according to two sources familiar with the matter cited by McClatchy.

Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and violations of campaign-finance laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

The judge in the suit had given Cohen until Friday evening to formally request the stay.

Mueller is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

"If a lawyer is involved with a client in a criminal conspiracy, the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege strips their communications of privileged status", he said, and if Cohen had incriminating items in his office, he's not shielded from liability, even if he's a lawyer. Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, declined to comment on Friday morning.

Each search warrant specifically describes how records seized that may fall into attorney-client privilege will be filtered out by a team that's walled off from the federal agents who have conducted the investigation, the prosecutors wrote.

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