Michael Cohen Investigation
On April 9, 2018, the FBI raided Cohen's office at the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, his home, and his hotel room in the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City, pursuant to a federal search warrant. The warrant was obtained by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, whose public corruption unit is conducting an investigation. Seeking the warrant required high-level approval from the Department of Justice. The Interim U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey Berman, was recused. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray – both of whom are Trump appointees – had supervisory roles. The FBI obtained the warrant after a referral from Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, although underlying reasons for the raid were not revealed.
Agents seized emails, tax records, business records, and other matter related to several topics, including payments made by Cohen to Stormy Daniels, and records related to Trump's Access Hollywood controversy. The search included the seizure of materials normally protected by attorney-client privilege, which is subject to a crime-fraud exception if a crime is suspected. However, some legal scholars opined that Trump's denial that he had knowledge of the Daniels payment, combined with denials by Cohen and his lawyer David Schwartz, meant both sides had effectively said the matter did not involve attorney-client communications. The search warrant itself has been sealed, making it unavailable to the public. The FBI also sought documents pertaining to Cohen's ownership of taxi medallions. Cohen's taxi fleet is operated by Gene Freidman, who is facing legal trouble for alleged tax evasion.
On April 13, 2018, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah confirmed that despite being under criminal investigation, Cohen was still Trump's lawyer. That same day it was reveled by McClatchy the Cohen was in Prague in 2016, despite blanket denials he has ever been there.
Earlier that day, instead of appearing in Fed. court while his lawyers were trying to suppress evidences seized in the FBI raid earlier in the week, he was seen in public meeting with and smoking cigars with Russia associates on a New York City sidewalk. Among them were Rotem Rosen who is the "right hand man" Soviet-born oligarch and Putin ally Lev Leviev, Dan Elituv CEO of Gottex Models who bought Gottex in 2009 from Leviev, Jerry Rotonda who is the former CFO of Deutsche Bank, and Ben Yosef who is an Israeli investor and was also a development partner of Alex Sapir and Rosen.
Dershowitz Cohen Raid Claims
Alan Dershowitz can now eat a shit-sandwich. According to the court filings today, the raids seem to be about the crime-fraud execution to attorney-client privilege. The relevant part (some of which is redacted)
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- Strobel, Warren; Walcott, John (April 10, 2018). "FBI raids offices, home of Trump's personal lawyer: sources". https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-cohen-raid/fbi-raids-offices-home-of-trumps-personal-lawyer-sources-idUSKBN1HG336. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- Michael D. Shear, Matt Apuzzo & Sharon LaFraniere, Raids on Trump's Lawyer Sought Records of Payments to Women, New York Times (April 10, 2018).
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- Haberman, Maggie; Apuzzo, Matt; Schmidt, Michael S. (April 11, 2018). "Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records on ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/us/politics/michael-cohen-trump-access-hollywood.html. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- "Michael Cohen, Attorney-Client Privilege and the Crime-Fraud Exception" (in en). Lawfare. April 10, 2018. https://www.lawfareblog.com/michael-cohen-attorney-client-privilege-and-crime-fraud-exception.
- Blake, Aaron (April 10, 2018). "How Trump may have unwittingly invited the Michael Cohen raid" (in en-US). The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/04/10/how-trump-may-have-invited-investigators-to-go-after-michael-cohen/.
- Stockman, Rachel (April 9, 2018). "Analysis: The FBI Raid Means Michael Cohen Should Be Really, Really Scared He’s Next". Law & Crime. https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/why-the-fbi-raid-suggests-michael-cohen-should-be-really-really-scared-that-hes-next/. Retrieved 22 May.
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- David A. Graham (April 12, 2018). "What Exactly Was Michael Cohen Doing for Donald Trump?". The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/what-exactly-was-michael-cohen-doing-for-donald-trump/557801/. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- Lovelace, Ryan (April 9, 2018). "After FBI Raid, Squire Says It Severed Ties to Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen". The National Law Journal. https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2018/04/09/after-fbi-raid-squire-says-it-severed-ties-to-trump-lawyer-michael-cohen/. Retrieved 11 April 2018.