Judge Says Trump and Cohen Can’t Yet Review Materials Seized by FBI

The judge said she was considering appointing a special master to assist in the review, and that Mr. Trump would ultimately receive copies of the documents that pertain to him.

Comments: 247

  1. bad move by the judge, should have allowed review, now he has a giant loophole to jump through if there is any reliance on these materials to get Trump.

  2. The reason they got a "no knock" warrant was they had reason to believe Cohen would destroy evidence. Finding a Special Master would take any claims from Cohen that the Prosecutor was biased when looking. Great move actually.

  3. Yeah? Please describe the loophole in detail along with the legal precedent. All of a sudden everyone has a JD.

  4. Totally agree. Some of us have never forgotten Rose Mary Woods and the 18 minute gap in the Nixon tapes. She got to review the tapes ahead of the prosecutor and "accidentally" erased parts of them in her famous stretch.

  5. It is fortunate that Trump and Cohen won't have a chance to destroy evidence. The American people deserve a full accounting of criminal activities that Trump engaged in on route to the White House. We deserve to know who helped him and how.

  6. Hey guy it’s called CC. Every email will be Cc’ed between trump and Cohen. Attorney client privilege. Cry elsewhere.

  7. As long as we also get a full accounting of all crimes against him or for him for nefarious purposes by others during his run for the presidency.

  8. The privilege does not apply if it is being used in a crime.

  9. I'm glad this authoritarian move by Trump was shot down. But I am bothered that the judge is considering assigning a special master when the DOJ and FBI already have a separate "clean" team in place to make sure the documents are handled appropriately.

    This is the case of the people vs. Trump and his associates in a case that may involve financial and electoral malfeasance, as well as treason. Trump has no right to insinuate himself in the investigative process. A judge approved this raid. That's good enough for everyone, including Trump.



  10. I'm all for a Special Master' anything, or anyone that can provide a significant imprimatur to evidence found.
    Go Judge!

  11. I, like many others I have seen, do not often agree with your comments. However, I do commend you for being logically consistent in your point of view.
    I thank you, and wonder if you could somehow model that behavior for the people at Fox.

  12. The purpose of the special master is to assist Judge Wood in her ruling as to what is permissible. DOJ and SDNY may have approved it but that isn't the same as a judicial ruling. The "overseers" are a DOJ taint team. That's a wise precaution but that isn't the same as in independent overview by someone working for the judge.

  13. Exactly correct!

  14. So when does the Fox News smear campaign against Judge Wood start?

  15. Chris,
    Please read some of the comments here (specially with single digit recommendations and lots of replies.) The smear campaign has already begun - his political affiliation and nominating president are already in public domain.

  16. Yes, like Judge Curial, whom trump accused of prejudice because of his ethnic background, she clearly must be prejudiced against men because she’s a woman. At least, that’s what passes for logic in the Resident”s camp.

  17. Wait for it... it's got to be coming.

  18. I'm confused; CNN is reporting that govt. attorneys should turn found documents to Cohen's lawyer for review?

  19. Perhaps they should be able to review what was seized and then let the prosecutors have it all. May be a good way to hasten the inevitable and coax a plea deal early on and let my country get on with life.

  20. Atta girl Ms. Wood (your honor). Nannygate is small potatoes compared to these crooks.

  21. That would be Judge Wood to you...just saying...

  22. Put that embarrassing example of a President in jail.

  23. oh..boy..Hope he ain't dirty...if so ,This will be mostly..EVERYONE jumping over each other 2 get thee less time as POSSIBLE

  24. Let the tax returns be revealed!

  25. Mueller saw them months ago. He has done a masterful job of saying "Look at that shiny object over there." Trump and his henchman are fighting out of their weight class.

  26. This shows, once again, that the warrant to search was very strong, that it holds ground, and that the Special Counsel is, in fact, acting within the rule of law.

    Donald Trump's lawyers will not be allowed to view this collection of evidence before the Special Counsel sees it. They won't know what the Special Counsel has or doesn't have until its too late.

    Just like with Flynn, Stone, Manafort, and now Cohen. Donald Trump's legal team is once again behind the eight ball. What surprise will come from the Special Counsel next?

  27. What's next are indictments, though hardly a surprise to anyone.

  28. To our Canadian friend and supporter: This case is not about Special Counsel Robert Muller's investigation; it is about the New York Attorney's investigation into Andrew Cohen for crimes he may have committed, crimes committed perhaps in working with [Mr.] Trump in all sorts of matters that a shady real estate developer might have. Many. Many. Many. Unsavory things. "Sleaze balls" often flock together, like birds.

    We know how confusing (not to mention Byzantine) our political systems can be. But thank you for caring, Mx C, about the terrible problems of your good neighbor, the USA.

  29. oops! Sorry. Not quite awake here.

    Michael Cohen, not "Andrew".

    And Robert Mueller III.

  30. When this disaster of a presidency is behind us, and the history books are written, there will be only one branch of government that honored the principles of democracy. Only the judiciary has recognized the separation of powers and reined in the corrupt and self-serving swamp that encompasses both the executive and legislative branches.

  31. With mucho heavy lifting help from Senate Republicans. They are quickly confirming individuals so unqualified that even people who have never gone to law school are justifiably wondering if these nominees ever darkened a law school door.

  32. Remember trump hollerin' loud about crooked Hillary and what did she have to hide? Well, what does trump have to hide? I say Lock Him Up!

  33. Unfortunately, the outrageous Roberts Supreme Court's Citizen United decision paved the way for the Trump disaster by saying corporations are people and have the same rights to support politicians as private citizens. This has allowed massive amounts of corporate money to distort the electoral process in multiple ways. Ergo Trump.

  34. OK prosecutors, roll up your sleeves, sharpen your pencils and get crackin'.
    You have a country to save..!!

  35. Lol. Hillary trading cattle futures on inside information or purposely using a private server in public office would have yielded better results. We all know Biden was the best choice. The people spoke stop whining.

  36. Actually, you are relying on the Electoral college for your claim. The 'people' spoke and out voted trump by 3 million strong. Just a fact.

  37. I remember a presidential candidate for 2016 crowing about his opponent's deleted emails, wondering constantly what she had to hide, deriding her for trying to cover things up, wondering why she couldn't handle the scrutiny.

    Many times on the campaign, this candidate clearly crowed about how his opponent clearly had something to hide, leading his campaign followers to "lock her up".

    I wonder whatever became of that candidate?

  38. He's still yelling 'Lock her up!" but she didn't win he did so maybe it is just a cover up for his illegal activities. "Lock him up! is too hard to say. His lawyer didn't get to delete emails, tweets, or recordings. He is bound to blow a fuse (stroke or apoplexy) sometime soon. How can he stay so angry all the time?

  39. No nicer person deserves what he, and his buddies, Hannity, and Trump are going to get. Cohen, is nothing more than an attorney for a mob boss, he fixes things by paying hush money or graft, whichever suits his needs. Oh and so called POTUS, his day is coming too.

  40. The racial biased citizens of this country elected him President. This is what can happen if people stay in their small, white, non -college educated world. I see it every day in the small Wi town I grew up in. College exposed me to liberal ideas and to moving to NYC further expanded my horizons - to say the least. I loved it!!!

  41. Good call on the part of the court.

    I'm sure that John Gotti wanted to do the same thing Trump asked to do. There is legal procedure in place that protects the attorney-client privilege in sensitive cases.

  42. Trump talks a lot like Gotti, too.

  43. The judge is merely considering an independent master to review the documents. It does not mean that she has made a decision in this regard.

  44. Why does Trump care about what the prosecutors might discover? He has repeatedly stated he didn't do anything wrong. For someone who isn't guilty of anything, he is certainly acting like a guilty man. I expect he'll be bringing up the concept of self pardon again soon.

  45. He certainly did many things wrong. He cares about the things that have not been uncovered yet and that will 'tarnish' further his already disgraced reputation. Based on his actions, behavior and malfeasance, it is easy to grasp why he worries. Things could be several: a) additional adultery affairs and hush money to silence the affairs; b) he is not really rich and does not own real state because he owns billions of dollars to Russia, Kazakhstan and other countries due to corrupt 'business dales'; c) he got money from Russia to support his campaign or d) there are documents revealing his taxes -where his money comes from and how much he is worth.

  46. self deportation would be better...

  47. If he doesn't want the public to see his income tax returns, then you can bet that this evidence is just as bad....Sooner or later (hopefully, sooner) the truth will come out...

  48. The problem with any reviewers besides the taint team is that only the prosecutors are able with any specificity to know what communications constitute obstruction of justice. Their knowledge of the evidence obtained thus far clearly could be crucial in making the distinction between privileged and evidentiary communications. I hope the judge will not appoint a special master.

  49. The reviewer are not judging whether the documents constitute obstruction. They will determine which documents are protected by attorney privilege or are irrelevant to the investigation Cohens fraud.

  50. The federal judiciary will, in the end, be our democracy’s fire wall against Trumpo’s authoritarian and fascistic tendencies...and Kimba Wood don’t play.

  51. As this progresses and Trump panics he'll fire Rosenstein, Muller and Sessions, naming Devin Nunes as AG, sparking our next civil war.

  52. Why does the NY Times, and other outlets, continue to refer to the actions taken as "raids"? The FBI executed duly authorized search warrants. The misleading--and loaded--use of the word "raids" suggests that there's something illegitimate in having conducted the legally authorized searches.

  53. An unannounced search and seizure seeking criminal evidence is commonly referred to as a raid. There is nothing illegal about the term or the practice, when executed with the pertinent warrants.

  54. The term "raid" does not connote illegality.

  55. Aw, ACH, come on. Cops raid. In this case they're the good cops, but it's way cooler to say the FBI raided a place than to say they executed duly authorized search warrants. Raiding and breaking and entering are different!

  56. Deciding what's privileged and what's not is a question of law. It's will be up to the judge or a quasi-judicial appointee, like a special master, to decide. Attorney-client communications are not privileged if they are used to further a crime or fraud.

    In Clark v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court itself stated,

    "A client who consults an attorney for advice that will serve him in the commission of a fraud will have no help from the law. He must let the truth be told."

    There is no justice without truth. Surely, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the Land will support the truth being told.

    Maurice F. Baggiano, author of The Federal Rules of Evidence, Deconstructed: A Benchbook for Lawyers, and Member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court

  57. Well if that is the interesting case, then there is no attorney-client privilege. One must actually ACT as an attorney FOR a client, otherwise the situation simply doesn't exist.

    So I kind of like your scenario.

  58. There won't be a chief law enforcement office (Attorney General) if Trump has his way before the trials begin. He will do away with all heads of DOJ & FBI. The Supreme Court is loaded with justices who will back Trump. So what is left if Congress & the Judiciary won't stand up to him?

  59. Thank you very much for your comment, Mr. Baggiano. It makes me feel profoundly relieved to see from your comments and those of others that we still have a strong core of Americans who believe in the rule of law. There is still hope for us. (And I'm sorry about all those lawyer jokes I told back when our democracy was safer and I didn't realize what was at stake!)

  60. How adorable, the subject actually thinks he has the right to review the seized materials first before the investigators.

  61. Trump is just acting like any other Crime Boss.

  62. Why not? In Trumplandia everything is upside down, starting with Truth.

  63. Bless his heart.

  64. Mr. President, this is what is called the rule of law. We know you despise it but that's the way a democracy works. Get used to it. This is only the beginning.

  65. we hope.

  66. He doesn't despise it. He doesn't know what it is - never heard of it.

  67. Private matters prior to taking office. Simple as that dood. NDA’s are not illegal.

  68. Thank you judge. That's what an ethical judge does. Trump is not, and will not be above the law

  69. Cohen knows what was seized - it was his created data.

    Why doesn't trump just ask Michael, and maybe Sean?

  70. Exactly.

  71. The review was likely just a stalling tactic. They know the info will get out but if they get to do a review they can slow walk it and delay for a few months.

  72. No one is above the law.

  73. Hallelujah. There is a check on the executive branch.

  74. Thank you, Judge Wood, for preventing the POTUS and his minions from obfuscating the situation further and removing more proof of questionable and treasonous behavior. I hope that you can control the rest of this situation like you did this one. I wish you and the Prosecution much luck in handling this mob of circus performers.

  75. “Judge Wood, signaled that she was considering appointing a special master to assist prosecutors if and when they cull through documents seized in the raids.”
    That’s not a good move. Why can judge Wood render a decision without a fallback plan?

  76. So when she decides not to use a special master she gets credit for at least considering an alternative to immediate review.

  77. I haven't had this much fun since Watergate.

  78. Probably just “real estate” deals, as in selling condos for cash to Russian mafia to launder the money.

  79. This seems different than what other media are reporting. They are claiming this actually is a Trump victory.

  80. I think the judge ordered the prosecutors to turn over a copy of what they took. They were not ordered to return anything to Cohen. Instead, they will be reviewed first by either a special independent FBI legal team unaffiliated iwth the particular investigation or by a legal team appointed by the judge. So Trump can claim this as a victory if he so desires.

  81. I did not see those reports. can you provide a link?

  82. Links?

  83. Here we are watching with bated breath, hoping the rule of law and our much-vaunted “checks and balances” hold firm.


  84. Bravo, Judge! Why would Judge Wood, or America for that matter, give trump’s counsels the opportunity to privately destroy incriminating evidence? Because they certainly would. Don’t give up the advantages, or the evidence, that the search warrants gave us. This really is domestic war! And assume that with this administration’s continuing conspiracy to hijack our Country, no low is too low a tactic for them.

  85. If Judge Wood's ruling stands, we are witnessing the end of the Trump presidency.

  86. Amen

  87. The best Trump can hope for is tweeting about Judge Woods "bleeding from her eyes or somewhere" in hopes of getting her recused. I doubt the American people or her colleagues would take that very well.

  88. How long before Trump smears her as a "so-called Judge?"

  89. He'll no doubt begin with "nasty woman" and slide downward from there.

  90. I hope he does. It would increase his life sentence for sure.

  91. He will surely bring up the original "Nannygate" issue, and remind his base she was nominated by Clinton and is a Democrat so she is "unfair" and it is all part of the witch hunt...

  92. I stand in gratitude of the founders of this nation, their brilliance in creating America's three branches of government, and enshrining them and our rights in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is up to us citizens to uphold what the founders established. Our current President has demonstrated he will not.

  93. Except for the unwise institution of the Electoral college. That was a clear fail.

  94. Boy am I tired of the chest thumping about our "brilliant" founders who came up with the constitution. Consider the despised British parliamentary system which the founders moved away from. The prime minister must maintain the support of their party and the house of commons. Trump would not have remained in power a month under that system. Instead we are given an unworkable impeachment process and a years-long constitutional crisis while the country goes to hell. The founders were bungling amateurs. This is no way to run the world's most powerful country, quickly descending into a banana republic.

  95. Yet, the founders also put in place the Electoral College which was supposed to prevent demogogues and the unfit from becoming President. The Electoral College certainly failed the country in 2016.

  96. A federal democratic party registered Judge Kimba Wood in NY appointed by Reagan has violated Trump's right to review the seized material. The most powerful world leader is not allowed due process in his own country. This will justify any legal response that Trump can think of. There is a bipartisan consensus that the FBI director James Comey should have been fired during the Obama years and the firing of Comey by Trump was justified. Although I do not think that Trump should fire Mueller who seems to have opened a can of worms that are wiggling out of control but if he does decide to do it for good legal reasons he will be justified in doing so, Even mass killers have greater rights than Trump and his lawyers. Trump called the FBI raid on his lawyer "disgraceful". It is gone beyond that and it is now disgusting.

  97. To a lay person with no knowledge of the law or the language of law? You want to comb through US law and dumb it down so that anybody off the street can fully understand it? The country does not deserve Trump, but from you post it is fairly clear why we have him.

  98. No. What happened in 2016, that was disgusting. This is a man who has refused every attempt to shed light on his businesses, his foreign connections, any attempt whatsoever at transparency. When asked whether he would release his tax returns for public inspection (as his opponent did), he refused, stating he had no legal obligation to do so, completely ignoring the very real moral obligation that he did have. When tapes came out demonstrating to his followers in the most stark way imaginable the depths of his own depravity, his followers simply shrugged their shoulders and refused to hold him to account, not out of any deference to him, but because you hold your political opponents in such contempt you now feel they are no longer worthy of your selective sense of justice.

    Well, now you see for yourself how that contempt can swing around to bite you, friend.

  99. Nostradamus Said So from the midwest. I have a chance to know a little bit more about Judge Woods than we all knew yesterday and am able to respond to the complicated law book thrown at me by the know it all crowd who had a biased interpretation of the law. Not that it will change the one track irrational minds but here is something to give some thought to. Judge Woods is not Goddess or the lady justice. Like Comey she has an axe to grind. She was once nominated to be on the supreme court by Bill Clinton but her nomination was withdrawn due to nannygate and she had been trained to be a playboy playmate in her younger days. Honorable Judge Woods was admired by Hillary Clinton and would have been nominated for attorney general had Hillary Clinton won. That did not happen another dream of hers was dashed. With that background do your on thinking and determine whether true justice and fairness can be expected?

  100. Stunning. Is the judge really denying the lawyer the right to examine documents so that he can argue retention of those that maybe subject to attorney-client privilege? That privilege may be overridden if the documents have been used, or a part of a crime, but to deny the lawyer the right to claim privilege seems to be prejudging the issue.

  101. Maybe being in Australia makes it more difficult to follow detailed legal proceedings. Cohen and Trump asked that they, themselves (or by their proxies their attorneys) be the ones to have a first look at all of the documents to assert the privilege. That is patently absurd. As if someone under criminal investigation gets first crack at handling evidence obtained at a crime scene. Instead either the well-established protocol of a legal FBI team unaffiliated with this particular investigation will be the first to review the documents or the judge can appoint an independent team of lawyers to review. In no way is the one under suspicion or a non-lawyer (Trump) to be the first to review for attorney client privilege - a non-absolute legal construct.

  102. I don't know how y'all do it down under, but in America the legal system does not allow criminal suspects to preview legally subpeoned evidence to decide what prosecutors get to see and what the suspects get to hide or destroy. Trump's own Justice Department appointees already approved seizure and review of Cohen's documents based on vetted evidence of criminal activity and likelihood to hide or destroy evidence if left to his own means. That is what separated a county ruled by law from one run by criminals and despots.

  103. Oh Dave, don't be Silly! 2 + 2 = 45!

  104. "Feeling her way" toward a resolution? All accounts I read of the hearing indicate that Judge Wood had a masterful command of both the legal issues and the people in her courtroom.

  105. Thank you. I had the same reaction you did when I read those words.

    I question whether a male judge would be characterized as "feeling his way" towards a resolution.

  106. I’m glad Judge Wood denied trump’s absurd request. I’m more glad she’s considering appointing a special master. Cohen needs to be dealt with according to the law he’s supposed to uphold (though it seems he’s not above bending it til it breaks...). Same with trump. However, trump will rant and rave on any platform he can get about how unfairly he’s being treated ( which is actually hilarious). So having someone who’s above reproach oversee the process of combing through Cohens product, and winnowing the relevant from the irrelevant should satisfy all. It won’t satisfy trump, but at this point, I’m sure most people are tired of his denials and bellyaching, so who cares if he throws yet another tantrum?

  107. Trump hates to lose control. He thinks he is above the law. Well I hope he and his gangs don't get away with more behind the scenes slimy (il)legal acrobatics. They have to be held accountable and be under the same legal scrutiny as with all American citizens who are suspected of criminal activity. He is a US citizen, isn't he? Someone should check.

  108. I think it's a fair decision. For one thing, most of the materials of interest are not part of legal works so its not privileged. The possibility that Trump and Cohen would try to hide or destroy incriminating material if they were allowed to review it before the prosecutors, is quite high to say the least. I believe that we're in for quite a shock when the scope of mischief from both men is revealed.

  109. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. This is unbelievable. There are some people of principle still out there.

  110. Do we not recall that Trump more than hinted at an armed insurrection if he lost the election because it was "rigged?" This judge is taking the long view of this, a likely scenario being that there's sufficient criminal evidence to bring an indictment against Lawyer Cohen and President Trump. And then what will be the "President's tweets" --- how will he more emphatically and more dramatically call his minions to war against the establishment. Judge Wood is being mighty careful and for very good reasons.

  111. Great observation. We've come too far to drop the ball at the five.

  112. I have never cheered so hard for an abstract institution in my life. Go, Constitutional law, go!

  113. I feel as though I'm getting my country back, that the American people are finally seeing some light at the end of this tunnel of horrors created by Trump and all his cohort and enablers, from Ryan and McConnell to Cohen and Hannity. Thank you, Judge Wood, Robert Mueller and all those who stand for the rule of law. Full sped ahead!

  114. Try not to feel at all comfortable. This will be a process and take longer than we think. We must succeed.

  115. Oh lord no. We are still hanging by a thread. It’s incredibly dangerous at this juncture. Republicans are still entrenched and he could hold the whole world hostage.

  116. No one can doubt that Trump would become his own Rosemary Woods if he got anywhere near the seized material. So would Cohen based on his past obeisance to Trump.

    Thank goodness the courts are not bending to Trump's will the way the Republicans in Congress and Pence have so far. If they were doing their job, Mueller and the NY attorney general's office would have a lighter workload. Trump has done everything short of chewing off his own paw to get out of the trap he's sprung on himself.

  117. Pence is the fox sitting next to the hen house waiting for the current occupant to be led out in brand new jewelry

  118. I'm sure this is no loss for Trump. If something is in writing, if it has words, if it has no pictures, he wouldn't review the papers anyway. It must have been one of his official readers who made the request, some junior legal beagle protecting the chicken hawk.

  119. The attorney-client privilege the basis for the objection to the introduction of evidence at trial. Until that point, there is no means to assert it and to have it recognized. Of course, there is a separate obligation of an attorney to preserve client confidences, but the search warrant relieved that obligation.

  120. Time to see Donald's Dirty Laundry so all the world can witness the unspeakable wretchedness of this "tiny, tiny, tiny little man".

  121. Perhaps his tax returns are in Cohen's files?? A girl can hope.

  122. Maybe instead of being heralded by " Hail to the Chief," The Don could be greeted by Don Henly's "Dirty Laundry." Seems apropos, no?

  123. Democrats must take back the House AND the Senate this November.

    We must stop this corrupt president and his quisling Republicans in Congress from appointing anymore judges.

    These are lifetime appointments and President Trump has been putting up overwhelmingly under-qualified, majority white male candidates.

    We must save our Republic and the rule of law in this country.

  124. Absolutely!!!!!

  125. It is not enough for the Democrats to beat the Republicans. They have to be willing to do what the working people need. The rich can take care of themselves.
    If the Democrats get into office and refuse to fight again, it will be worse than if they lost.

  126. Combined with the dramatic scene earlier in this episode, where Hannity was named as the secret client, this is normally the point where I run tired of the show alltogher. As the plot becomes way to unlikely to have happened in real life, and you start blaming the writers for having lost control of the story and characters. And desperately have to resolve to cheap soap opera tricks to save the show from fallling apart.

  127. It’s “jumped the shark” ;-)

  128. Let's hope the show is cancelled before the second season!

  129. Or brought cousin Oliver aboard ;-)

  130. Mr. Cohen worked on his "dead man walking" expression over the weekend. he certainly had it perfected by the time he left court today.

  131. Ben Stiller has to work on it now

  132. He looked as if he'd just been smacked up-aside the head. Howdy! He sure looks like he knows darned good and well that he is really in for it, this time and can't see any good way out.

  133. I'm just a layman but it seems like a crazy request. Why would a judge allow the defendents to determine which documents the prosecutors can read.

    Trump, Cohen and apparently Sean Hannity may be looking at very serious charges. I'm especially concerned that Donald Trump or some of his supporters may try to disrupt the case.

    Trump has repeatably said he hasn't done anything wrong. If that's true I would think that he would want to let the case proceed so that the situation is cleared up.

  134. "if that's true?" Ha!

  135. When he starts tweeting that he hardly knows Hannity and never met him, you can expect him to resign the next day.


    Sorry, just had to do a little dance, even though the end zone is a ways off.

    "The council was essentially a council of courtiers. Little attempt was made to find the most experienced man for any special task or to make use of his ability; the King preferred to chose from his friends and servants those who were the most congenial to him, in the ill-grounded belief that he would find in them the knowledge and technical skill that was wanted."

    I am reading CV Wedgwood's history of the English Civlil War, from which this quotation is excerpted. The King in this case lost his head.

    Those who don't learn from history, etc.

  137. An independent judiciary in New York is even more fearsome to Trump than Mueller. Trump can't fire or influence his way through this one.

  138. Next they might suggest that trump will review the data and after doing so, produce a signed affidavit attesting to the fact that there was nothing illegal to be found - just like how the trump team proposed dealing with the Mueller probe several months (gosh, it feels like years) ago!

  139. Another stormy Monday in New York. Can't wait until Tuesday.

    With respect and gratitude to Gregg Allman.

  140. Stormy Monday was written and first recorded by T-Bone Walker.

  141. Let's see if Tuesday is just as bad.

  142. Actually, Stormy Monday was written and recorded by T-Bone Walker - although like so many others, I'm sure Gregg Allman did a nice version of it too.

  143. What am I missing here? How could this have been ruled any other way? When does the alleged criminal EVER get to decide what evidence is not admissible?

  144. The court gets to decide but you’re allowed to argue your point of view.

  145. Didn't Hillary Clinton decide what emails to hand over to investigators from her home-based server?

  146. Apparently when the alleged criminal is a republican president.

  147. This is a great lesson for my students. Three branches of government and democracy in action. Kudos to the justice department.

  148. From my understanding, of the law, materials involved, in prosecution of a case, are only released to the defense, when there is an indictment. Nether Cohen or Trump have been indicted, or even charged with a crime. And, there may never be a charge or an indictment.

    So, if Trump, and his lawyers, are petitioning to see documents, there this could be seen as some level of guilt.

    Politics, aside, the judge did the correct thing. That is what rule of law is all about. Anyone, from a multi-billionaire, down to a clerk, is entitled to due process. But, also, the prosecution has the right to determine if thee is enough evidence, to warrant filing charges. What Trump is doing is trying to interfere with the legal process. I hope the judge also warned Trump's attorney that they were crossing a legal, ethical line.

    The bottom line, if Trump and Cohen, did not do anything wrong, they should not be concerned. If they did, this will be revealed in short order.

  149. There may not be an indictment, but how many people have been dismissed without a trial in the last few months? The concern is that this is an escalation of the so called "resistance" intended to harass all those who support Trump. We know there are cases of government bureaucrats abusing their positions to harass people for their own gains. Comey seems to going to the bank, leveraging his former position at the FBI.

  150. SSS,

    The biggest abuser is Trump himself. As fro Trump supporters being "harassed", they have been doing their own job of harassment for a number of months. By the way, Comey has nothing to do with the events outlined in this article. Trump, and his lawyers, tried to impede an investigation. A judge put rule of law over the wills of Trump. That is not harassment.

  151. What is Trump so afraid they will find something? This man is obsessed with himself. This is Cohen's problem right now. They may only look at things that are criminal, so what does our illustrious leader fear??

  152. Watch Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Inghram, Jesse Watters, Steve Doocey, Brian Kilmeade, Tucker Carlson, and others to begin a character assassination of Judge Kimba Wood.

  153. Even if she’s the Tylenol Killer, that doesn’t affect her rulings.

  154. Brace yourself Judge Kimba M. Wood for tomorrow morning's Tweets after Fox & Friends. Can I suggest watching Fox News with family and friends during a breakfast brunch at your favorite restaurant?

  155. What exactly is a "special master"? Presumably, it would be someone who has no bias or prejudice with regard to material that might turn up in the documents. What if there is evidence of malfeasance that interactions between Trump and his attorney might reveal—other payoffs, money laundering, whatever— would the special master then decide whether it may or may not be used?

    There was a valid search warrant. The files should be examined by the prosecutors.

  156. The only thing that I can see Trump getting out of this is that he can use the inevitable defeat to advance his narrative of victimization. Could that have been the purpose of the request?

  157. There is finally a glimmer or light at the end of Trump tunnel. Maybe I'll be able to sleep without the fear that when I wake up I'm living in the USSR.

  158. It seems easy to conclude that a headline that a party showed up at his own hearing is spurious. But the Times is right to headline it. As we know he spent the last hearing outside smoking a cigar. It is not required that anybody but the lawyer show up but it's usually good form for the client to appear until and unless the judge indicates it's not necessary or worse. Not a good opening move.

  159. A special master is probably the best for all concerned. A lawyer who knows what _ specifically _ is covered by client attorney privilege. This is better than a so called taint team as the latter are Justice department prosecutors - even if at arms length.

    So he blocks that and returns it to Cohen. The rest gets copied and handed over to the state investigators and attorneys to continue the "witch hunt".

  160. Thank God. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for mob boss POTUS Trump. And if evidence is found supporting the allegation that Cohen was in Prague then the end may come quickly. May if be so.

  161. MR California Pending Approval

    Thank God. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for mob boss POTUS Trump. And if evidence is found supporting the allegation that Cohen was in Prague then the end may come quickly. May it be so.

  162. I seem to remember that when it was a case of Hillary Clinton s emails, she and her office went through what was on her server files and submitted what she thought was relevant, declaring that all the rest was personal. I wish someone had contested that back then, before it set a precedent, because I really hope that the evidence, if there is any, is kept safely out of the hands of any possible defendants.

  163. That’s the difference between a subpoena and a search warrant.

  164. “Growing debate” as to the impartiality of the investigation. The only debate is between Trump and the TV he’s yelling at.

  165. Well, this answers the Trump "Where's my Roy Coen" interrogative; the Judge should just legally remove the silent "h" from "Coehn" and Trump would have his Coen resurrected.

  166. Tremendous interference with client attorney confidence. Expect actions of like kind in those steering this travesty

  167. Your opinion does not seem to be in line with the American justice system. I hope you are not a practicing attorney because you are not familiar with our laws.

  168. You're wrong. Attorney-client privilege gets overruled when the attorney might be participating in a crime with the client.

  169. The fact that Cohen is a lawyer and that Trump is his client does not mean that all communications between them are privileged. Only those pertaining to legal advice are. Not those pertaining to acting as Trump's fixer.

  170. Mueller just opened a second front. Very clever.

    Now there are two trains running on the Trump Express to oblivion.

  171. Seems to me your headline is misleading. The judge may have rejected the proposal to let Trump's lawyer pre-screen the materials, but that was just Trump's legal team's first offer. They had already said that they'd be satisfied if an independent prosecutor could do the pre-screening. So in that sense, they have succeeded in blocking immediate review.

    The FBI will not be allowed to see any documents not directly related to the evidence that led to the search warrant in the first place.

    Which means (sadly) that this is not going to open a window into any other shady business dealings in which Atty. Cohen may have been involved. That will take longer.

  172. Upon filing the motion both Trump's and Cohen's lawyers should have submitted a "privilege log" in which one or the other laid out the files, or portions of files, that either or both deemed to be privileged, rather than claim that he had "a thousand" clients. Why would a judge trust the legal team(s) that, like their client(s), have (has) so little respect for the truth?

  173. That assumes Cohen is a competent lawyer and knows what he had, what was taken and what it contained. Given his performance on the legal stage to date, few would reach that conclusion. His NDAs have gaping holes a first year law student would pick up, and I see no reason to think he's any more competent at his other legal work.

  174. Good move. I wonder what their next attempted obstruction maneuver will be?

  175. This is pure speculation at this point, but it's worth mentioning: Cohen was operating his law office (for his three clients) out of the Squire Patton Boggs offices. SPB are the lawyers for Cambridge Analytica and have close ties to Gazprombank, as they are Gazprombank's principal lobbying firm in the U.S. Gazprom, of course, is the largest Russian oil firm, and a lot of Putin's personal wealth is believed to be tied up in the firm; he is rumored to own 5 percent.

    It's not impossible that Cohen's office at SPG was indirectly one of the ways that Russia could keep tabs on Trump. Cohen (who doesn't seem to be the brightest guy) could conceivably have been receiving legal advice from SPB, or alternatively, his phone calls from their offices could have been monitored. Russia seems to have been good at targeting the weakest links in the Trump machine -- as was the case with Carter Page, also not the sharpest guy.

    Trump's willingness to surround himself with yes-men who are loyal above all else may prove to be a tremendous vulnerability; if Russia got to the yes-men then they could get to Trump.

    The less sinister interpretation, perhaps, is that SPB was willing to take on shady clients and relationships if the price was right.

  176. Add one more more effort by Trump to obstruct justice. Seems like Trump has given Mueller a tall pile of public evidence for trying to impede the justice department.

  177. Hmm. Perhaps the witch hunt will bear fruit that will not put Trump in a positive light-as if he needs help.
    If there was nothing to see, why be so concerned?
    And to think the crooked and conniving grifter was calling Hillary crooked not too long ago.

  178. If anyone has written evidence of Trump’s dirty dealings, it’s Michael Cohen.

    But, oh man, Kimba Wood is the woman Bill Clinton nominated to be AG and who then had to withdraw because she hired an undocumented immigrant as her nanny. Looking forward to the next twitter storm.

  179. Nominated to the judgeship by Ronald Reagan. It was not then illegal for her to hire the nanny. And she actually paid the taxes. Yes, I know it doesn’t matter…

  180. Well then we can being up how he uses the visa program to benefit himself and his hotels. Plus, i doubt it would take much to find an illegal alien in his background...oh, wait, didnt he marry one? (A cheater, in any case).

  181. Yeah, that'd really help Failing 45's case!

  182. You get to challenge admissibility of evidence. You don’t get to keep it from prosecutors.

  183. How can anyone be in disagreement that this was the right decision? Trump and Cohen are dirty and they want to get rid of evidence.

  184. No one is above the law!!!!
    The rule of law will win.
    Justice will be served.

    DT and his cohorts will have plenty of sleepless nights.

    Our nation is under siege by this corrupt administration and our judicial system will save us!!!!

  185. The President doesn't know Stormy. He doesn't know about the $130000 payment. Cohen confirms Trumps know nothing about the payment. What is there to review?

  186. We'll find out eventually

  187. @RNS - If Cohen actually acted on behalf of Trump without his knowledge (unlikely), then Cohen's $130,000 payment could be considered an illegal campaign contribution.

  188. NY doesn't put up with Washington's nonsense. Let Hard nose, Real Justice prevail. No lies or fake news here.

  189. Go Southern District!

  190. Fortunately for Trump he only hires the very best lawyers.

  191. This isn't the Soviet Union, Donald.

  192. Meanwhile Jarad can’t get the documents into his fireplace fast enough. !!

  193. I bet Javanka flipped last year and have been wearing Mueller's wire ever since.

  194. That was a Hail Mary. Nice try, though. Can't wait to hear what "advice" Sean Hannity was getting from Cohen.

  195. I heard Trump was a really good boxer in military school. I'm sure he knows full well what a one-two punch is. Usually followed by a knock out. 1......2.......3........4.........5...............

  196. Thank thank you Judge Wood.

  197. My fear is…all this may result in a Mike Pence presidency.
    What's virtue in that?

  198. god works in mysterious ways. he even manages to use sinners to accomplish his will. :)

  199. Mike B: Pence may also be implicated in Mueller's investigation. And if the entire Presidential election is found to have been compromised/tainted/stolen, then they must all be removed.

  200. Trump's repeated efforts to block Mueller's investigation reveal his guilt. He has every reason to do ANYTHING to escape conviction. And what's strange is that his supporters routinely ignore this behavior. In fact, Fox News (on line) does not mention last night's Comey interview.

  201. It doesn't matter if it is President Trump of if Hillary were president. What has been done threatens the freedom of all Americans.

    We go from Trump being investigated for collusion with the Russians that has produced zero evidence after over a year to the raiding of Trump's attorney offices seeking information regarding his relationship with strippers.
    Hopefully those involved in this illegal political witch hunt will be brought to justice.

  202. @Don: Clearly you have no idea how our legal system works. The special counsel’s Russian collusion investigation isn’t over yet. So there is “no evidence” yet. There may be and there may not be. When the investigation is over, and Mueller and his team reveal their findings, we will then know if there is evidence to charge Trump and members of his administration with collusion. As for the “raid on Trump’s lawyer’s office,” information about possible criminal wrongdoing came to light to the special counsel that he felt merited being passed along to the FBI who then went to a judge to ask for a warrant to have the FBI - not Mueller - seize any materials from Cohen’s office that potentially showed evidence of a crime. All aboveboard, all legal. The “witch hunt” exists only in Trump’s and his supporters’ delusional, paranoid minds.

  203. If President Obama had pressured Comey to drop the Clinton email investigation, then fired him when he didn't, and then lied about it, conservatives would have been screaming for impeachment.

    As for collusion, we know from the emails prior to the Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin operatives to get "dirt' on Clinton that Don Jr. knew prior to that meeting that there was an ongoing Russian effort to help the Trump campaign and he was enthusiastic about it. We know that President Trump dictated the lie that the meeting was about adoptions. Mueller has evidence that Cohen was in Prague at the time the Steele dossier says he met with Kremlin operatives to collude with the Russian effort to aid the Trump campaign and damage the Clinton campaign. We know that Cohen lied when he claimed he wasn't in Prague. We know that Papadopoulos knew about the hacked emails. We know Flynn discussed lifting sanctions with a Russian spy and lied about it.

    You can't credibly claim that there is "no evidence" of collusion or that it is a "political witch hunt." There are guilty pleas and indictments. Democrats are not in charge of any aspect of it.

  204. So much evidence is there that it needs to be carefully sifted out to ensure blankets of evidence are not thrown over everybody. A case is built carefully to ensure the criminal is charged with only his or her crimes, not every crime that has been committed regardless of the who committed it. Some were guilty only of knowledge and failing to do the right thing by reporting. Some were in up to their knickers. And some crimes were committed by foreign powers.

    Justice is blind it is said. We cannot be blind to the growing need for justice.

  205. Isn't this normal DOJ procedure with a special team not involved in the prosecution?

  206. Not in all cases, but in a situation like this where an attorney's files are involved, it would not be unusual. There is also a special team at the DOJ for this type of work.Here, a special master, a retired judge, for example, might be a path of less controversy.

  207. Yes.
    I was a prosecutor (albeit a state one) for many years.
    Attorney offices have been and can be the subject of lawful search as long as probably cause shown .
    Otherwise, a mere law degree would be an impenetrable shield against all kinds of shenanagins.
    Business advice , unlike advice given in anticipation of liltigation has no privilege (Cohen was not so much a litigator- more of a "fixer" .... Uh oh for him)
    Nor is criminal activity privileged. (duh)
    Taint teams are SOP, as is 'in camera' review (determination by the judge) or appointment of a 'special master' (advises the judge on the determination.)
    The only thing that is unusual about this is that it involves a sitting POTUS. (who is learning the hard way that he is not above the law,)

  208. Yes, this is normal procedure. The prosecutors have a team of U.S. Attorneys go through the material removing documents they believe are privileged. That group is separate from the team of U.S. Attorneys and FBI agents conducting the investigation. Here's an article from the ABA Journal explaining it in more detail:

  209. Trump and Cohen should never be permitted to see the government's evidence. Not at trial, not on appeal. Never. Since when does trump get the right to see government evidence? That is for the prosecution, the judge and the prosecution's jury. The role of trump is to go to prison and not pass go. He has no rights!

  210. Failing 45 is a lowest of the low, but he still has a defendant's right to evidence discovery.

  211. Pretty sure a defendant, or at least his/her lawyers, gets to see prosecutor’s evidence against him/her.

  212. Oh, he’s going to get to see, smell and hear the evidence over and over again pretty soon.

    Now when’s the Trump wing at Leavenworth going to be completed?

  213. No man, including the President, is above the law and it's accepted traditional proceedings. Hats off to Judge K. Wood.

  214. Preet Bharara was very close to putting Donald Trump behind bars before he was fired. If that isn't obstruction of justice, we have lost our country.

  215. Sounds like the judge wants to accommodate Cohen and Trump. Wonder how much evidence the special master will shield from the prosecutors. Wonder if Trump will ever be driven from the office he did not deserve in the first place. Given our wonderful legal system, I'm guessing that he won't.

  216. It looks like she is thinking that a special master would assist the prosecutors, which I didn’t interpret to mean separate review cycles...

  217. What a relief to see that Trump may finally be held accountable. A little faith is restored in our system of governance.

  218. What Mr. Cohen lacks in brains he more than makes up for in chutzpah. Did he really think a judge would rule in his favor?

  219. I wonder how long we are going to have to wait before Trump attacks Judge Wood in a tweet? According to her bio she is tough and brilliant, plus at 74 a vastly experienced jurist. Might not be such a good idea for the tweeter in chief, but he may not be able to stop himself.

  220. I hope he does...he is classless and possesses less maturity and self control than a two year old. Let him keep digging his own grave....

  221. Re "...the judge, Kimba M. Wood, signaled that she was considering appointing a special master to assist prosecutors if and when they cull through documents..."

    That is why the "Taint team" was assigned the search and seizure of Mr. Cohen's data.

    However, do we have any reason to believe that the justice departments would act on behalf of mr. trump?

  222. Wait a minute! If Trump can't examine whatever evidence prosecutors have seized, how can he possibly tailor his next lies?

  223. As other perceptive people have commented here, we can thank our lucky stars that Trump has come from NYC. It's just the very best place to get him.

  224. By the end of this, at least many folks now yelling, "Atty.-client privilege", will finally learn what that means. It's not nearly as broad as these folks, now yelling, seem to believe it is. Or put another way, just because a person is an Atty., does not mean, everything spoken to him/her, is somehow protected by A-C Priv.

  225. Cohen’s attorneys have apparently misrepresented Sean Hannity’s status as a client of Cohens. And incorrectly asserted Hannity pled not to be disclosed as such. One less reason to trust the integrity of Cohen’s legal team’s review.

  226. Another trump win! Because he can now tweet how unfair the justice system is to him, how biased the judge is, how the FBI and the State of New York are colluding against him (because there's no proof he colluded with anyone!), how his inaugural crowd was the biggest ever, etc., etc.

  227. Of course the judge is a Reagan appointee who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate but that won't stop Trump from telling his clueless supporters that she is part of the "witch hunt."

  228. Blocking immediate review is a win for America because it delays the investigation. With any luck we will have a Dem house when the trial comes.

  229. Reread the story. The request to block immediate review was denied. Which is good for America because it will let prosecutors move forward with seeing what's in those files.

  230. What makes this nightmare so frightening is that Hannity and the others at Fox have brainwashed so many of our fellow citizens that they don’t even THINK (I could end the sentence right there) about watching any other network or reading anything beyond the National Enquirer and totally right-wing publications.

    It is even MORE frightening that 42 percent of voters support Trump—and that actually is an increase despite what he says and does on a daily basis.

    Wake me up....PLEASE!

  231. And now the percent of voters in support is rising ... their trust in career government bureaucrats rapidly eroding.

  232. Now I'm comprehending why the search was conceived, sought and executed with the threat that evidence may be destroyed if haste wasn't made. It's pretty clear there are things in there Trump and Cohen wish would have disappeared at least a few weeks ago....

  233. The review by a special master is an ideal solution: (s)he would have absolutely no interest in the outcome of the litigation and, after providing an appropriate conflicts check, would be trusted by both the government and Mr. Cohen's counsel.
    There's another person involved in this case who served honorably as a special master in the Volkswagen emissions settlement and distribution thereof: Robert Mueller. Judge Woods would do well to find a master with Mr. Mueller's impeccable traits of professionalism and honor.

  234. What are the FBI and government hiding? The law is very clear that if the government charges someone, the government is also supposed to share their evidence with the accuser.

  235. at the proper time. they have not seen the material, thus do not know which will be evidence.
    some of these statements are so dumb.

  236. Charges have not been filed against Trump or Cohen. You are confused about where things are in this process. The law that is "very clear" to you applies at a subsequent judicial stage. The prosecution investigates and gathers evidence that is not subject to "sharing" with the accused until they are in fact "accused." The government is following due process and you are not correct.

    What can be culled from the material are only those files subject to attorney-client privilege, and even that A-C privilege is voided the material pertains to aid in commission of a crime. There is also the issue that Cohen's business activity is separate and different than his activity as a lawyer. It seems that much of what Cohen "did" for his clients was not work that falls under the definition of a legal work and materials pertaining to work that was not defined legal work is ALSO not subject to attorney-client privilege. In other words, just because you are a lawyer doesn't mean you are doing legal work for someone when it is actually of a business, as if you are a business client not a legal client, that relationship would not be covered by A-C privilege.

    Clearly you want to be outraged and level accusations of subterfuge when, in point of fact, you do not understand the law involved.

  237. @Mike smoth Baltimore

    Why don't you ask a lawyer about this????

    When you say "The law is very clear that if the government charges someone, the government is also supposed to share their evidence with the accuser," you are just showing that you don't know anything about the law.

    But can you just Google?????

  238. I'll be honest. If this Clinton and she was doing this stuff, I'd say investigate, because I would be the country first ahead of my political perspective as a liberal. Yet it seems to me, that Trump supporters see only one view. Their own. If it was Obama or Clinton they would be screaming to not allow he or her to see it. Impeach. But their own guy? Everyone else is a liar or a god forbid, a Democrat.

  239. Another reason to love NY.

  240. Who would have thought real reality would be more crazy than reality TV?

  241. Good!

    Lordy, I hope there are tapes!

  242. POTUS and his crew clearly and simply do not believe that "The Law" and its processes apply to them - in any instance.

    Appalling and amazing!

  243. @Bob Pennsylvania

    Awww, Bob -- I can understand your being appalled, but amazed? As in "surprised"?

    Where were you on January 23, 2016, when then-presidential candidate Trump said, during a campaign rally in Iowa , "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters."

    He was then apparently referring to the undying loyalty of his Base -- and nothing has shaken them since. But now the rest of us acknowledge that he is a compulsive liar, a cheat, a racist, a misogynist, a philanderer, a man whose entire career has involved skirting the law, and that he has almost since the moment of his inauguration been working to flout the laws of the land -- including firing and, if necessary, destroying those who attempt to bring him and his sleazy accomplices to justice.

  244. Does Cohen's face appear to be a bit green? If so, he probably spent a bit of time hugging the courthouse bowl immediately after Judge Wood rendered her ruling. Before we know it, he just may be spilling his guts to Robert Mueller.

  245. I think it is a bit late for spilling his guts if he does indeed keep so many recordings laying about. I thought we all learned from Nixon not to tape and from Hillary to delete BEFORE the F.B.I shows up. If people would read a little U.S. history once in a while, they would have fewer problems.

  246. I'm agnostic at best. Yet, I find myself wanting to fall to my knees and pray for the health, well being, and steadfastness of the prosecutors who will comb through this evidence. All of us, "we the people," are counting on them to save our republic and deliver us from this corrupt, dirty, heinous administration.

  247. Even Hannity said he didn't hire Cohen in a "traditional" sense. Cohen is a fixer rather than attorney so no privilege exists.

    Hannity said that he, “might have handed” Cohen $10...I want attorney-client privilege on this" for real estate advice. I guess that in mob speak that translates to, "Sure I'll help Mr.Trump launder Russian money."

    The indictment of Cohen is imminent.