National Security

Judge rules Trump, Cohen objections to attorney-client privilege designations ‘should be filed publicly’

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A federal judge ruled Friday lawyers for Michael Cohen must publicly file any challenge they make against a special master’s decision to declare as not privileged most of the materials seized by FBI agents during raids of his home and office.

In a brief decision Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood denied requests from attorneys for President Trump and Cohen a day earlier that would have kept information on the challenges under seal.

Contents of the files mentioned in the challenges would be redacted, according to Wood.

“The court agrees with the Government that Plaintiff and the Intervenors’ objections should be filed publicly, except for those portions that divulge ‘the substance of the contested documents,’ ” Wood wrote.

The judge’s decision followed a request from eight news organizations and a press advocacy group to keep the filings public, according to Courthouse News.


“Now that President Trump and Mr. Cohen are challenging whether certain of these documents may be turned over to government investigators, the public has a right to know what they assert are the bounds of the attorney-client privilege,” First Amendment attorney Rachel Strom wrote in court filings.

Just 162 of the items seized by FBI agents earlier this year in a no-knock raid of Cohen’s home, offices, and safety deposit boxes were declared protected by attorney-client privilege by a special master appointed by the court to review the documents. Trump and Cohen’s attorneys have indicated they will challenge this decision, but have not said how many of the documents they believe to be privileged.

Cohen is under investigation for bank fraud and possible campaign finance violations. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Tags attorney-client privilege Donald Trump Special Master The Trump Organization White House

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