Federal prosecutors asked the judge overseeing Michael Cohen’s criminal case in Manhattan to reject the Trump Organization’s request for more time to review documents seized from Cohen’s premises.
“Further delay will unreasonably impede the Government’s investigation,” U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami wrote in a Monday letter to Judge Kimba Wood.
The three parties—Cohen’s attorneys, the Trump Organization, and federal prosecutors —have wrangled since April over the attorney-client privilege review process for the millions of documents FBI agents took from Cohen’s office, hotel room, and apartment.
On Friday, the Trump Organization asked for two additional weeks to complete its review, saying a “password issue” kept it from accessing a trove of documents until the middle of last week.
But as Khuzami notes in his response, Judge Wood already granted the parties more time, moving her initial deadline of June 15 back to June 25 for Cohen and June 27 for the Trump Organization.
Khuzami also points out that only a tiny fraction of the documents reviewed by Special Master Barbara Jones, an independent party brought in by request of the Cohen and Trump teams, were determined to be privileged.
On those grounds, Khuzami says, the Trump Organization should not be granted yet another extension. If it is, it should be only one more week, or a deadline of July 5, Khuzami argues, adding that the government will “oppose any future requests for delay in their entirety.”
Wood last week announced that she was adopting the report that Jones filed, which designated 161 items as privileged. As Wood explained in her order, the bulk of them involved text messages exchanged between Cohen and his own outside counsel requesting or receiving legal advice. Wood agreed with Jones’ determination that seven other documents could be withheld from prosecutors because they are highly personal documents concerning Cohen’s “family affairs.”
In addition to the Trump Organization, former adult film star Stormy Daniels is also intervening in the case. Some of the seized materials involve the $130,000 Cohen paid to Daniels just before the 2016 election to keep her from talking about her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, lashed out at federal prosecutors on Monday, alleging that they canceled a scheduled Monday interview with his client because it leaked to the press.