At hearing this morning, Judge expressed concern Avenatti would use appearance in case “to denigrate Mr. Cohen and, I believe, potentially, deprive him of a fair trial by tainting a jury pool”
Things are coming together in the Michael Cohen search warrant case.
As you will recall, Cohen sued to protect potentially privilege records seized from his law office and home. The Court appointed a Special Master to review the records and report to the Court.
The Special Master filed a Report on May 29, 2018 (pdf.) (full embed at bottom of post). Here’s the key summary reflecting the scope of the electronic and physical evidence reviewed so far (emphasis added):
As of today, the Special Master has concluded her review of the May 4th production which comprised 639 hard copy documents totaling 12,543 pages. She has also concluded her review of the contents of the May 8th and 9th productions based upon the 252 total privilege designations provided by the Plaintiff and Intervenors. The 292,006 items from the first two productions that have not been designated privileged or highly personal by the parties were released to the Government on May 23rd. On or before June 4th, the Special Master will provide the Court with a Report and Recommendation with respect to the privilege determinations as to these first two productions.
The Plaintiffs and Intervenors have submitted designations for the electronic contents of three phones from the May 11th production and approximately 1,025,363 items from these phones have not been designated privileged or highly personal by the parties. Subject to final verification by the Special Master, the items that have not been designated will be released to the
Government on May 30th.
The Special Master submitted a $48,000 fee invoice (pdf.)(full embed at bottom of post), to be split equally by Cohen and the government by agreement. That’s at a rate of $670 per hour (which believe it or not, for someone of her experience is not high for big NY law firms).
According to news reports, during the court hearing this morning the government indicated that it is piecing together and will turn over to the Special Master reconstructed documents obtained from a shredder.
AUSA Maimin says that the government expects to produce "the contents of a shredding machine" to the special master within three weeks.
— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) May 30, 2018
Also, according to news reports, there are audio recordings that Cohen maintained, something previously reported long ago. Yet the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels), Michael Avenatti, is acting like this is a new revelation.
On the Avenatti front, news reports indicate that during the hearing Cohen’s lawyer’s again accused Avenatti of leaking confidential bank records, and the judge expressed concern that Avenatti’s public posturing could negatively affect a jury trial, should Cohen eventually be charged, if Avenatti were admitted to the case pro hac vice.
An attorney for President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, accused porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer in federal court on Wednesday of leaking Cohen’s bank records, calling it a “drive-by shooting of my client’s rights.”
In a hearing before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood in Manhattan, Cohen attorney Stephen Ryan also called the alleged leak by Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, “reckless,” “malicious” and “intentional.”
Avenatti responded, “We did not do anything improper relating to the release of any information concerning Mr. Cohen.” ….
Wood did not rule on whether Avenatti would have a formal role in the case. But she made clear she would not give him an open platform in her courtroom “where you’re free to denigrate Mr. Cohen and, I believe, potentially, deprive him of a fair trial by tainting a jury pool” if criminal charges were ever brought against Cohen.
Michael Avenatti just withdrew his motion to appear before a New York court on the Michael Cohen case. Judge came down hard on him this morning. Saying if he wanted a seat at the table he would need to stop his publicity tour.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) May 30, 2018
In that regard, after weeks of contentious accusations between Cohen’s lawyers, who opposed Avenatti’s motion for admission, and Avenatti’s counter-accusations, Avenatti withdrew his request to enter an appearance.
The ostensible reason given by Avenatti was that the motion of his client to intervene in the case is being held in abeyance, so there is no need for him to appear formally in the case. That seems pretextual, as Cliffords’ motion has been held in abeyance for a long time, yet Avenatti sought to appear in the case. More likely, there’s no upside for Avenatti to appear in the case, since it would put front and center Cohen’s request that the Court force Avenatti to disclose what records he obtained, how he obtained them, and to whom he released them.
Avenatti got a ton of publicity by inserting himself into the Michael Cohen search warrant case, first through having Clifford seek to intervene and then through his pro hac vice application. It kept him in front of the cameras, but if he pressed the application, the Court may have forced him to disclose how he obtained bank records and what he did with them.
By withdrawing the application for admission, Avenatti got out while the getting was good.
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