Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The FBI Raided Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen’s office, Seized Documents Related To A Pornstar

The F.B.I. raided the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday morning, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to a pornographic film actress.

The raids are a remarkable move against a longtime confidant of the president. Agents reportedly seized records related to Cohen’s $130,000 payment to porn actress/director Stormy Daniels, as well as other matters. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had a sexual encounter with the president in 2006 and was threatened to keep quiet about it during the 2016 campaign.

Mr. Trump, in an extraordinarily angry response, lashed out hours later at what a person briefed on the matter said was an investigation into possible bank fraud by Mr. Cohen. Mr. Trump accused his own Justice Department for perpetrating a “witch hunt” and asserted that the F.B.I. “broke into” Mr. Cohen’s office.

“The decision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary. It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients” Ryan said in a statement.

Ryan did not elaborate on the documents that were taken from Cohen’s office but said he has cooperated with investigators, including speaking with lawmakers looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In his remarks to the Senate intelligence committee, Cohen confirmed that during the early parts of the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization pursued a proposal in Russia for a Trump Tower Moscow. He has downplayed the significance of the deal, which fell through, and said it wasn’t related to the campaign.

But Cohen has more recently attracted attention for his acknowledgment that he paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket just days before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Daniels and he was not reimbursed for the payment.

Trump told reporters last week that he did not know about the payment. Daniels has said she had sex with the president in 2006. She has been suing to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement she signed before the election and has offered to return the $130,000 she was paid in order to “set the record straight.” Daniels argues the agreement is legally invalid because it was signed by only Daniels and Cohen, but was not signed by Trump.

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