Donald Trump calls Michael Cohen as their lawyers go to court over seized Trump documents

Trump arrives to speak about tax cuts for Americans at the White House on April 12, 2018.
Trump arrives to speak about tax cuts for Americans at the White House on April 12, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - President Donald Trump phoned his longtime confidant, Michael Cohen, to "check in" on Friday (April 13) as lawyers for the two men went to court to block the Justice Department from reading seized documents related to Cohen's decade of work for Trump, according to two people familiar with the call.

It is not clear what else they discussed in a call that came days after a series of FBI raids.

Depending on what was said, the call could be problematic for both men, as defence lawyers often advise their clients not to talk to each other during investigations.

Trump and Cohen still were trying to determine what exactly was seized.

The raids were even broader than have been previously reported. Prosecutors said the raids were part of a months-long investigation into Cohen.

In addition to searching Cohen's office and hotel room, prosecutors also obtained warrants to seize material from his cellphones, tablet, laptop and a safe-deposit box, according to people briefed on the warrants.

"The searches are the result of a months-long investigation into Cohen, and seek evidence of crimes, many of which have nothing to do with his work as an attorney, but rather relate to Cohen's own business dealings," federal prosecutors wrote in court papers filed on Friday.

 

The court papers also disclosed that prosecutors - before the raids on Monday - had already obtained secret search warrants for several of Cohen's email accounts as part of what they said was a grand jury investigation.

The uncertainty around what was taken has heightened the unease around Trump, whose lawyers had projected confidence in their dealings with the special counsel, Robert Mueller, but were caught flat-footed by the extraordinary raids on Cohen.

The lawyers fear Cohen will not be forthcoming about what was in his files, leaving them girding for the unknown.

A hurriedly scheduled court appearance in Manhattan reflected that worry.

The seized documents could shed light on the President's relationship with an adviser who has helped steer him through some of his thorniest personal and business dilemmas.

Joanna C. Hendon, a lawyer for Trump, asked a federal judge to temporarily prohibit the Justice Department from reviewing those materials until the matter can be litigated.