NEW YORK (REUTERS) - United States President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer whose offices and home were raided last week will ask a judge to limit federal prosecutors' ability to review seized documents at a hearing which adult film star Stormy Daniels is expected to attend.
Michael Cohen, who prosecutors revealed last week is under criminal investigation, has asked the court to give his own lawyers the first look at the seized materials so they can identify documents that are protected by attorney-client privilege.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, plans to attend Monday's hearing, her lawyer Michael Avenatti, said on Sunday (April 15). She is engaged in a legal battle with Cohen over a US$130,000 (S$170,501) agreement for her to keep quiet about a 2006 sexual encounter she says she had with Trump.
In a court filing on Sunday night, lawyers for Trump asked to be allowed to review documents that in any way relate to the president.
Lawyers for Cohen appeared without their client at a hearing on Friday before US District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan federal court. The judge ordered that Cohen himself be present Monday so that he could answer questions about his clients.
In a court filing on Monday morning, Cohen's lawyers argued that Cohen should not be required to turn over the names. They said that Cohen had at least 10 clients in 2017 and 2018, and that he did "traditional legal tasks" for three of them, including Trump, Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy and a third who asked not to be named.
Cohen arranged a US$1.6-million payment to secure the silence of a former Playboy model who said she became pregnant by Broidy, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.
Cohen did not respond to a request for comment.
Last week's raids came after a "months-long" investigation of possible crimes related largely to Cohen's business dealings, rather than his work as a lawyer, prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday.
A source familiar with the raids said last week that the information FBI agents were seeking included information about payments to Daniels.
The raids were based partly on a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller who is investigating possible collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, according to court filings.
Trump has called Mueller's probe a "witch hunt" and denied any collusion.
Todd Harrison, a lawyer for Cohen, said at Friday's hearing that "thousands" of documents seized were likely privileged, and that many related to clients other than Trump.
Prosecutors have asked that the seized documents be reviewed for attorney-client privilege by a "filter team" of lawyers within their own office, who would be walled off from the main prosecution team. The use of filter teams is standard in federal criminal investigations.
Wood ordered Cohen's lawyers to be ready with a list of Cohen's clients on Monday to support their argument.
Wood is also expected to hear from a lawyer representing Trump. Joanna Hendon appeared for the president at Friday's hearing, telling Wood that Trump had "an acute interest" in the handling of the seized materials.
She argued in Sunday's court filing that a Chinese wall in the prosecutor's office was not enough in the "highly politicised, even fevered, atmosphere"around the probe.
Avenatti, Daniels' lawyer, said at Friday's hearing that he had "every reason to believe" that some documents seized from Cohen related to his client. Cohen has acknowledged paying Daniels US$130,000 in 2006.