Cohen wants four former federal prosecutors to review material seized in FBI raid
Yana Paskova/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has suggested four former federal prosecutors serve as special master to review material seized from his properties in an FBI raid.
The recommendations came in a letter to Judge Kimba Wood, who had requested candidates from the parties involved in deciding what records are covered by the attorney-client privilege.
Wood did not commit to appointing a special master, but said during a Monday hearing that “in terms of the perception of fairness, a special master might have a role.”
Cohen’s attorneys suggested Bart Schwartz of Guidepost Solutions; Joan McPhee of Ropes & Gray LLP; Tai Park of Park Jensen Bennett LLP; or George S. Canellos of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Canellos is a former enforcement director for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Park defended Ng Lap Seng in a United Nations bribery case. All four are former prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, the same office that has been investigating Cohen for months over what they’ve called “personal business matters.”
The government is expected to put forth its recommendations for a special master as soon as Wednesday. Prosecutors would prefer to have their internal “taint team” weed out potentially privileged files.
Cohen has asked the judge to appoint an independent third party to review the material. President Trump did not agree.
“The president objects to anyone other than himself making the initial assessment of what’s privileged,” said his attorney, Joanna Hendon.
On Monday, Wood declined to issue a temporary restraining order, but she did not rule on how the review would proceed. Prosecutors agreed to provide copies of everything seized — including 10 boxes of documents and about a dozen electronic devices — to the legal teams of Cohen and Trump, and promised not to read anything until the judge decides.
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