Judge orders public release of redacted Cohen raid documents

A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered prosecutors to publicly release redacted copies of search warrants and other documents tied to last year’s FBI raid on former Trump attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems face tricky balancing act after Mueller report New normal: A president can freely interfere with investigations without going to jail Heavily redacted Mueller report leaves major questions unanswered MORE’s properties. 

U.S. District Judge William Pauley III filed an order Monday morning approving the government’s proposed redactions to the search warrant materials, including those to obscure Cohen’s email address, phone numbers, apartment number and safety deposit box. Pauley ordered prosecutors to publicly file the documents on Tuesday. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The order means that the public is likely to soon learn more about the April 2018 FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room that eventually led to the former Trump confidant pleading guilty to a series of federal charges last year. 

“Tomorrow’s Court-ordered release of the affidavits that led to the search warrants of Mr. Cohen’s home, office, hotel and safety deposit box, only furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress," said Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, in a statement.

In early February, Pauley ordered the partial release of copies of search warrants, warrant applications and supporting affidavits and riders connected to the raid after a group of news organizations petitioned for their release.

“The public interest in the underlying subject matter of the Materials — which implicates the integrity of the 2016 presidential election — is substantial,” Pauley wrote in a 30-page opinion filed on Feb. 7. 

The documents could shed further light on Cohen’s case, but they are unlikely to provide much new information about the campaign finance violations to which Cohen pleaded guilty that stem from payoffs he made to women who alleged they had affairs with President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE prior to the 2016 election.

Pauley ordered the government to redact details about Cohen’s campaign finance violations that could jeopardize the ongoing investigation into the payoffs after federal prosecutors objected to the release of the documents, saying it would jeopardize an ongoing probe.

Prosecutors submitted proposed redacted copies of the documents under seal in late February, one day after Cohen delivered explosive public testimony on Capitol Hill during which he detailed Trump’s alleged involvement in the hush money scheme and other nefarious activity.

Trump has accused Cohen of lying and denied wrongdoing in connection with the payments. 

Pauley has now approved the redacted versions of the raid documents for public release.

“The Government is directed to file redacted copies of the search warrant materials on the public docket on March 19, 2019,” Pauley wrote in the order Monday.

Cohen is slated to report to prison in May to begin serving a three-year sentence for his crimes. 

-Updated 9:41 p.m.