Judge sets deadline for privilege search in Cohen case

NEW YORK NY- APRIL 13 Michael Cohen President Donald Trump's attorney takes a phone call near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave

NEW YORK NY- APRIL 13 Michael Cohen President Donald Trump's attorney takes a phone call near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing adult film actress Stormy Daniels, alleged in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Wednesday that Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, had recorded "inappropriate" conversations.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood presides over a federal court hearing where attorneys for President Donald Trump and Michael Cohen tried to persuade the judge to delay prosecutors from examining records and electronic devices seized in NY.

He said that Ryan "admitted that there are audio recordings that Michael Cohen was taking for years, and that those recordings are, to quote him, 'not only do they exist, but they are under lock and key, ' and some of them relate to my client and her attorney-client privilege communications".

Avenatti's enthusiasm for media attention also drew criticism from Ryan and Hendon, and Wood suggested that she shared those concerns.

In a hearing in Manhattan on Wednesday, Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District of NY set a deadline of June 15 to complete their review, despite strenuous objections from Cohen's legal team. Avenatti is not representing Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, through Eagan Avenatti.

"If you participate here, you would not be able to declare your opinion as to Mr. Cohen's guilt, which you did;" she said.

Wood also noted that Avenatti could potentially affect whether or not Cohen is given a fair trial if the case ever gets far.

Todd Harrison, a lawyer for Cohen, said his firm was "moving heaven and Earth" to review documents.

Hendon then blasted Avenatti's court filing stating that Egan Avenatti was not the law firm for Daniels' as "carefully constructed" and "misleading".

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Cohen, who has not been charged with a crime, is under investigation on suspicion of campaign-finance violations and bank fraud.

At a court hearing in Lower Manhattan, Wood sided with prosecutors in announcing a June 15 deadline for Cohen, President Trump's long-time fixer, to make all remaining claims of attorney-client privilege.

Of the material seized from Cohen's home, hotel and office in April, only two old Blackberry phones and the contents of a shredder have yet to be turned over to Cohen's lawyers, prosecutors said. There have been no charges filed against him.

The lawyers said it will take until mid-July to finish their review.

"The relatively modest amount charged" by Jones, who is a partner at Bracewell, "confirms that there is very little privileged material for her to review and that her review is not a hard one", Riopelle said. Ryan said that was raised because it showed that "Mr. Avenatti can not keep his agreements".

Last week, US Bankruptcy Court Judge Catherine Bauer ordered Eagan Avenatti to pay $10 million to Jason Frank, a lawyer who used to work at the California firm, after Avenatti failed to pay Frank $2 million this month.

He called Avenatti's media appearances "reckless and improper" and reminded the court that Avenatti had released some of Cohen's bank records to the media - a "premeditated drive-by shooting of [Cohen's] rights", Ryan told the court.

Much of the rest of the hearing was taken up by vicious bickering between Avenatti and lawyers for Cohen and Trump. There is now a Treasury Inspector General investigation into Cohen's release of the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), Ryan told the court.

"It's never a good idea to be recording conversations, period, especially if you are an attorney, especially if you're dealing with sensitive information", Avenatti said.

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