President Donald Trump’s team of lawyers in a letter addressed to a federal judge on Sunday asked her to stop federal prosecutors from reviewing the documents that were seized in Michael Cohen’s office and home, saying that the Department of Justice is not suited to fairly evaluate the collected materials.
According to The Washington Post, Trump’s lawyers, Joanna Hendon, Christopher Dysard and Reed Keefe wrote to Judge Kimba Wood in the Southern District of New York to request Trump and Cohen be allowed to identify privileged communications prior to a fuller review.
They also wrote that potentially privileged information was seized during the raid, arguing that Trump should be able to review those documents before the federal agents and prosecutors examine them in order to ensure his right to attorney-client privilege.
“The President, the public, and the government have a vital interest in ensuring the integrity of the privilege review process, and the taint team procedure is plainly inadequate to the task,” the lawyers wrote, according to a copy of the letter.
“There is, as well, cause for concern that a taint team could not evaluate Mr. Cohen’s files (and, in particular, those relating to the president) fairly,” they continued.
Trump on several occasions criticized his own Justice Department especially focusing on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cohen, who was Trump’s lawyer for years, had his office and hotel room raided last week. The seize warrant said that he is under investigation for bank fraud and campaign finance law violations.
The federal agents reportedly seized bank records, communications between Cohen and Trump, as well as a number of documents connected to payments of two women who alleged they had an affair with the president more than a decade ago.
It was also reported that the prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrants for the raid partly based on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, which made President Trump launch a series of attacks on Mueller and his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.