09:29, April 27 301 0 abajournal.com

2018-04-27 09:29:07
Former federal judge is named to review documents seized from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

A former Manhattan federal judge who is a partner at Bracewell will oversee a review of materials seized earlier this month from Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump.

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones will screen the documents for privileged materials that should not be turned over to prosecutors, report CNN, the New York Law Journal (in stories here and here), the New York Times and the Washington Post. The materials were seized in an FBI raid reportedly seeking evidence to determine whether Cohen tried to suppress damaging information about Trump during the campaign.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood appointed Jones on Thursday.

Jones left the bench in 2013, after serving as a judge for about 16 years. Her name was not on lists of potential special masters submitted by prosecutors and lawyers for Cohen.

Before becoming a judge, Jones was a Justice Department lawyer focusing on organized crime and a federal prosecutor in the office of U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani, who recently joined Trump’s legal team. She was also chief assistant in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Jones joined Bracewell in 2016, shortly after Giuliani left the firm where he was a name partner for Greenberg Traurig. She was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton.

During the hearing, prosecutors were quick to point to remarks by President Donald Trump on Fox and Friends earlier in the day. Trump had said Cohen did only a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of legal work for him. Prosecutors said that meant few of the seized documents would be protected by privilege.

According to the Washington Post, the reference to Trump’s interview “provided a vivid illustration of the strategic downsides of the president’s media interviews and off-the-cuff remarks and tweets—and why lawyers urge their clients to limit public commentary about ongoing legal matters.”

Trump also said Cohen “represented” him in the Stormy Daniels case, the Washington Post reports in a prior story. Daniels is seeking to void her confidentiality agreement despite receiving a $130,000 payment by Michael Cohen. On Wednesday, Cohen filed a declaration that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in the case. Trump has previously said he didn’t know about the payment. Daniels maintains she can void the agreement because Trump did not sign it.

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