Trump lawyers fight to shield items seized in FBI raid

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, asked a federal judge Friday to get the first look at documents and devices seized from Cohen's office and hotel room during an FBI raid to exclude items they believe are protected by attorney-client privilege.

In the hour-long court hearing, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said Cohen's lawyers have asked to "take the first cut at identifying documents that are relevant or not relevant to the investigation."

An attorney for the president, Joanna Hendon, appeared as well, telling the judge that Trump has "an acute interest in these proceedings and the manner in which these materials are reviewed."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom McKay told the judge that he believed the proceedings were an attempt to delay the processing of materials seized in the search.

Of Trump, McKay said: "His attorney-client privilege is no greater than any other person who seeks legal advice."

Federal agents seized records on a variety of subjects in raids Monday on Cohen's Manhattan office, apartment and hotel room, including payments that were made in 2016 to women who might have damaging information about Trump.

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.

Wood adjourned the hearing until 2 p.m. It was unclear whether that session will be open or closed to the public. The judge said sealing the proceedings might be needed to protect "the privacy interests of potentially innocent people."

FBI and Justice Department officials have refused to say what crimes they are investigating, but people familiar with the investigation have told The Associated Press the search warrant used in the raids sought bank records, business records on Cohen's dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen's communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments made to a former Playboy model, Karen McDougal, and a porn actress, Stephanie Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels. Both women say they had affairs with Trump, which Trump denies.

Category: