NEW YORK – A federal judge has on Thursday appointed a Special Envoy for the Verification of Confiscated Materials from the Office and Residences of President Trump's Personal Advocate Michael Cohen, acceding to his request an independent party can check the material in front of federal prosecutors to access it.
The decision to win a Cohen victory came after the prosecutor quickly rushed to comments that Trump made on Thursday morning that the lawyer did little legal work for him to undermine Cohen's argument that much of the material went through Lawyer secrecy was protected. 19659006] US District Judge Kimba Wood appointed retired Federal Judge Barbara S. Jones to test the role of Special Forces Officer to determine if the documents contained confidential communications between Cohen and his clients, including Trump.
Jones, who served as federal judge for 16 years in the Southern District of New York, is a former prosecutor of organized crime who was assistant to Robert M. Morgenthau, the longtime prosecutor of Manhattan.
Wood said Jones is ready to meet with lawyers from both sides week to work out the process. She set up a four-week plan for Cohen's Special Master and Lawyers to check the material.
Wood made it clear that she does not want the review to go into litigation and says she is ready to intervene  if there are unnecessary delays
"If that turns out to be the special master process too slowly, I'll check it again, "she said.
Lawyers for Cohen and Trump have been struggling to prevent prosecutors from obtaining unimpeded access to thousands of documents [1965-09] that were seized by Cohen earlier this month as part of an ongoing criminal investigation of his lawyer and his personal affairs.
In a letter to the court In the run up to the hearing, the prosecutors quoted Trump's comments early Thursday at the Cable Exhibition "Fox and Friends," in which he said that Cohen was only a "tiny little fraction" of the legal Work of the president.
The prosecutors argued that Trump's statements had proved that relatively few of the seized documents were likely to be privileged communication between the two men.
The rapid incorporation of the Trump Fox interviews into legal documents by the prosecution provided a vivid illustration of the president's strategic drawbacks of media interviews and spontaneous remarks and tweets – and why lawyers urge their clients to restrict public comment on ongoing legal matters.
The prosecutors noted that Cohen's lawyers had first told the court that the FBI had "thousands, if not millions, of privileged material from their home and office." Since then, Cohen's attorneys have acknowledged Cohen last year Only three legal clients had.
One Fox News moderator, Sean Hannity, said Cohen had never represented him on any legal matter, and Trump's new comments also suggested that Cohen had done relatively little work for him.
"These statements from two of Cohen's three identified customers indicated that the seized materials are unlikely to contain extensive privileged documents, which emphasizes the importance of efficiency here," the prosecutors wrote.
In their filing, prosecutors drew their earlier Opposition to the appointment of a special master, provided that a d party received the documents before Cohen and his lawyers.
Instead, Wood provided a framework in which the Special Master and Cohen's attorneys obtained the material at about the same time, independently reviewing it, and then discussing possible disagreements.
Both sides seemed to accept Jones's decision without opposition. Stephen Ryan, a lawyer for Cohen, declared her "a good choice."
Wood had earlier said that she was considering appointing a special champion – not because of a precedent, but to avoid the appearance of bias in politics. Defendant Case
At the hour-long hearing, the two sides agreed in general terms But it also indicated that there were many issues that could fuel further struggles.
US Attorney Thomas McKay, for example, asked the judge to limit the special master's review to only which reviewed material that fell under attorney and client privileges.
The Special Master's permission to review anything other than the privilege issue would, McKay argued, "slow down this process dramatically."
Cohen's lawyer argued that Jones should also drop material that was not on it this month Such search commands responded as family photos or people
Wood said they could pick up on the issue again if problems arise.
The legal showdown began after FBI agents on April 9 as part of a federal prosecutor's investigation Files and documents confiscated New York for possible bank fraud and cable fraud by Cohen
The persons familiar with the investigation also investigated whether Cohen has violated the campaign law by suppressing harmful information about Trump before the November 2016 elections, including $ 130,000 The payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Daniels & # 39; s lawyer Michael Avenatti tried to intervene on Thursday in New York a move that Wood would repeat after the prosecutors' verdict chance to answer.
Wood said that both sides should be ready to go to court on May 25 to discuss how the document review has proceeded.
During his "Fox and Friends interview, Trump confirmed that Cohen had represented him when the Daniels payment was negotiated."
"He poses me with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal," said Trump He did not do anything wrong. "
The comment seemed to collide with the earlier Trump comments, insisting that he had not known Cohen's payment to Daniels, which could be legally problematic. Trumps Claiming that Cohen acted on his behalf now seems to put the President in the middle of a criminal investigation.
After the hearing, Avenatti, who is also involved in Daniel's lawsuit against Cohen, said Trump's on-air statements were for the Right strategy of the president "catastrophic."
"I think the president should appear every morning on 'Fox and Friends," said Avenatti.