Judge Orders Release of Redacted Cohen Raid Documents
21 March, 2019, 17:11 | Author: Carlos George
FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump, talks to reporters as he departs after testifying before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019.
In addition to pleading guilty in August to violating campaign finance law, Cohen also plead guilty to tax and bank fraud, as well in November to lying to Congress about efforts to open a Trump Tower in Moscow, the Washington Examiner reported.
The federal investigation into former Trump attorney Michael Cohen began almost a year before agents raided his home and business in April 2018, newly unsealed court documents revealed Tuesday.
Secret until now, the search warrant applications provided no new information on Trump, for whom Cohen worked for a decade as executive vice president and "fixer" at the Trump Organisation.
The newly released records show that several months earlier, in July 2017, Mueller's office got a judge to grant him authority to read 18 months' worth of Cohen's emails.
The filings reveal that in July 2017, when Cohen was still referring to himself as the "personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump", the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained search warrants for Cohen's email. Columbus Nova, a private equity firm belonging to investor Andrew Intrater, a cousin of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, signed a $1 million consulting agreement with Cohen.
Cohen, who has been criticized for his unregistered foreign contacts and relationships, was never charged with failing to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The materials related to the campaign finance contribution scheme are entirely redacted in the documents, and there does not appear to be extensive justification that prosecutors have made visible to the public that describes their reasoning for looking at Cohen's phone and email communications.
Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said the release of the search warrant "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".
The documents were part of the justification Mr. Mueller used to obtain search warrants to peek at Cohen's communications, track his whereabouts, and conduct a raid of his home and office a year ago.
Trump has denied having sexual relationships with the women, and said his campaign did not collude with Russian Federation.
The documents are being released as a result of a ruling from federal Judge William Pauley partially granting a request from various media organizations, including CNN, to unseal documents related to the April 9, 2018, raid.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents said they used a device to track down Cohen's location in April 2018.
Prosecutors had opposed the release, arguing that it "would jeopardize an ongoing investigation and prejudice the privacy rights of uncharged third parties".
The warrants describe Cohen's false statements to financial institutions about the goal of Essential Consultants - Cohen's firm that took payments from AT&T, Novartis and the Russian national - as well as "activities undertaken by Cohen on behalf of certain foreign persons or foreign entities without having registered as a foreign agent", one of the documents says.
Cohen has since pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, among other crimes.
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