Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Ends Bid For Role in Cohen Case
"We're working around-the-clock," the lawyer told US District Judge Kimba Wood, saying that even with a team of 15 lawyers "moving heaven and earth," they had only finished reviewing 1.3 million files so far and didn't expect to finish until mid-July.
File image of Stormy Daniels. (Image: AP)
New York: Lawyers for President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, failed to win more time on Thursday to analyse millions of files seized by the FBI, but they did get one thing they wanted: Their TV tormentor, Stormy Daniels' attorney, withdrew a request to get a formal role in the case.
A federal judge refereeing an ongoing legal tussle about which documents should be withheld from investigators because of attorney-client privilege gave lawyers for Trump and Cohen until June 15 to finish reviewing 3.7 million paper and electronic files seized from Cohen in the April raids.
The deadline for them to identify documents they believe are confidential was set over the objection of Cohen's lawyer, Todd Harrison.
"We're working around-the-clock," he told US District Judge Kimba Wood, saying that even with a team of 15 lawyers "moving heaven and earth," they had only finished reviewing 1.3 million files so far and didn't expect to finish until mid-July.
"I don't know if we can make that," another Cohen lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said of the June 15 deadline.
Wood was unmoved, but she made comments in court that may have prompted Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to withdraw a request to get a formal role in the legal negotiations.
Avenatti had applied to intervene in the case so he could ensure that any confidential records or recordings related to Daniels that were in Cohen's possession weren't improperly disclosed.
Much of Thursday's hearing was consumed by spirited arguments about Avenatti's numerous public attacks on Cohen, mostly through live cable TV appearances. Ryan protested that the barrage was improper, saying Avenatti was on television at least 170 times, mostly to badmouth Cohen.
He also complained that Avenatti had improperly acquired and released certain bank records related to Cohen's business dealings.
"I have never seen an attorney conduct himself in the manner that Mr. Avenatti has," Ryan said.
Wood told Avenatti that while he is free to speak his mind now, he would have to end his "publicity tour" and attacks on Cohen if he became part of the case. Lawyers practicing in the federal court in Manhattan must follow local rules barring statements that might taint prospective jurors.
"That means that you would have to stop doing some things you have been doing. If you participate here, you would not be able to declare your opinion as to Mr. Cohen's guilt, which you did; you would not be able to give publicity to documents that are not public. It would change your conduct," Wood said.
"I don't want you to have some existence in a limbo, where you are free to denigrate Mr. Cohen and I believe potentially deprive him of a fair trial by tainting a jury pool." Shortly after the court hearing, Avenatti withdrew his application, but not before appearing before TV cameras outside again and assailing Cohen and his legal team once more.
Among other things, he accused Cohen's lawyers of giving a journalist an audio recording of a conversation between Daniels' former lawyer and Cohen.
In court, Ryan denied that Cohen's lawyers gave recordings to a reporter, saying that if any did exist pertaining to Daniels, they were "under lock and key," controlled by his law firm, the Trump Organization or the president."It has not occurred," he said.
Daniels, who was not in court today, got a USD 130,000 payment from Cohen before the election in exchange for not speaking about an alleged sexual encounter with the president in 2006. Trump denies it.
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