New York, NY. — Adult film star Stormy Daniels will be present during a Monday court hearing for President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen in which Cohen is expected to challenge evidence obtained during an April 9 raid of his Manhattan office by FBI officials, says Daniels’ attorney.
“I’m going to be there at 2. I can announce that we got comfortable with a security plan last night for my client, she’s going to attend at 2 on Monday,” Michael Avenatti told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, is under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal conduct and business dealings.
Attorneys for Cohen have criticized last week’s raid by FBI officials of Cohen’s office and personal residence as “unprecedented” claiming the items seized by federal agents “have nothing to do with the probable cause” on which the warrant was granted.
In a letter penned to federal Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District of New York on Monday, Cohen’s attorneys, Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison, argue the items seized by the feds are protected by attorney-client privilege.
“[T]here is a growing public debate about whether criminal and congressional investigations by the government are being undertaken impartially, free of any political bias or partisan motivation. It is in this climate that the Government executed an unprecedented search warrant—instead of using its less onerous subpoena power—upon the personal attorney of the President of the United States,” Cohen’s lawyers wrote.
“In the process, the Government seized more than a dozen electronic devices and other items that include documents and data regarding topics and issues that have nothing to do with the probable cause upon which the search warrant was granted in the first place.”
In response, U.S. Attorney Robert S. Khuzami of USAO-SDNY, says all items obtained during the course of the raid were justified and approved by a federal magistrate judge.
“These searches were carried out as part of an ongoing grand jury investigation being conducted by the USAO-SDNY and the FBI,” Khuzami’s motion argues, adding the judge “had found probable cause to believe that the premises and devices searched contained evidence, fruits, and instrumentalities of conduct for which Cohen is under criminal investigation.”
According to a New York Times report, some of the documents seized by FBI agents related to a $130,000 payment Cohen allegedly paid Daniels as part of a confidentiality agreement she signed regarding an alleged affair with Donald Trump.
“This is completely unprecedented. Prior to the execution of warrants at issue, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York had already intercepted emails from the president’s personal lawyer,” Cohen’s lawyers wrote. “They apparently executed the search warrants at issue here only after they searched the private emails between the President of the United States and his personal lawyer and realized that ‘zero emails were exchanged with President Trump’.”
When asked, Avenatti denied that Daniels’ presence at the hearing was intended to provoke Cohen, but added: “I think Monday afternoon could prove to be very interesting.”
“(Daniels’s presence is) intended to send the message that this is a very, very serious matter for her and she wants to make sure that the American people know that she’s behind efforts to bring to light as much information and documents as possible,” said Avenatti. “She also wants to ensure that she is heard and that she’s represented at the hearing.”