FILE - In this March 6, 2019 file photo, Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, returns to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington. Prosecutors are scheduled to publicly release documents on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 related to the search warrant that authorized last year’s FBI raids on Cohen’s home and office in New York. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Records show FBI was probing Michael Cohen long before raid

The federal inquiry into Michael Cohen had been going on since July 2017

The FBI was investigating President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer for nearly a year before agents raided his home and office, documents released Tuesday show.

The search warrant, while heavily redacted, offered new details about the federal inquiry of Cohen’s business dealings and the FBI raids of his Manhattan home and office.

It shows the federal inquiry into Michael Cohen had been going on since July 2017 — far longer than had previously been known.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said the release of the search warrant “furthers his interest in continuing to co-operate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress.”

The FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan home and office last April, marking the first public sign of a criminal investigation that has threatened Trump’s presidency and netted Cohen a three-year prison sentence for tax evasion and campaign-finance violations. The feds, who also scoured Cohen’s hotel room and safe deposit box, seized more than 4 million electronic and paper files in the searches, more than a dozen mobile devices and iPads, 20 external hard drives, flash drives and laptops.

Both Cohen and Trump cried foul over the raids, with Cohen’s attorney at the time calling them “completely inappropriate and unnecessary” and the president taking to Twitter to declare that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

READ MORE: Michael Cohen calls Trump ‘racist, ‘conman’ in testimony

A court-ordered review ultimately found only a fraction of the seized material to be privileged.

The raids on Cohen were triggered in part by a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who separately is looking into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Tuesday’s release of the search warrant came nearly six weeks after U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III partially granted a request by several media organizations, including The Associated Press, that the search warrant be made public due to the high public interest in the case.

The judge acknowledged prosecutors’ concerns that a wholesale release of the document “would jeopardize an ongoing investigation and prejudice the privacy rights of uncharged third parties,” a ruling that revealed prosecutors are still investigating Cohen’s illegal payments to two women to stay silent about alleged affairs with Trump.

The judge ordered prosecutors to redact Cohen’s personal information and details in the warrant that refer to ongoing investigations and several third-parties who have co-operated with the inquiry. But he authorized the release of details in the warrant that relate to Cohen’s tax evasion and false statements to financial institutions charges, along with Cohen’s conduct that did not result in criminal charges.

“At this stage, wholesale disclosure of the materials would reveal the scope and direction of the Government’s ongoing investigation,” Pauley wrote in a ruling last month.

Cohen pleaded guilty over the summer to failing to report more than $4 million in income to the IRS, making false statements to financial institutions and campaign-finance violations stemming from the hush-money payments he arranged for porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen implicated Trump in his guilty plea, saying the president directed him to make the payments during his 2016 campaign.

Jim Mustian And Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Camosun student starts bursary program for low-income students

The Jor-Dawn Smith Bursary will go to one Greater Victoria graduate in spring 2020

Victoria property company plans to replace Saanich apartments with townhouses

Abstract Developments plans 26 townhouses for Gorge Road West

Curtain closes on Sidney’s Star Cinema location

The iconic theatre will move to a temporary location after its last showing Sunday

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

SOOKE HISTORY: The North Star and Sven Johansson

Elida Peers | Contributed Learning recently of the passing of Sven Johansson,… Continue reading

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Sooke’s EMCS Wolverines drop season opener

Parkland best EMCS squad 81-64

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read