The Special Master appointed by the federal court to review claims of privilege in documents seized by the feds from Michael Cohen has issued her first set of recommendations (pdf.).

The Special Master agreed with Cohen and/or intervenor Trump that 162 documents were privileged, and another 10 “Highly Personal”:

1. Contents of Eight Boxes of Hard Copy Materials:

Out of 639 total items consisting of 12,543 pages, the Special Master agrees with the
Plaintiff and/or Intervenors and finds that 14 items are Privileged and/or Partially Privileged.
The Special Master also finds that 3 items are not privileged.

2. Contents of Two Phones and an iPad:

Out of 291,770 total items, the Special Master agrees with the Plaintiff and/or Intervenors
and finds that 148 items are Privileged and/or Partially Privileged and that 7 items are Highly

Based on the wording of the recommendation, it appears that the Special Master upheld the challenges in all but three cases. So Cohen and/or Trump’s claims of privilege were upheld in 162 of 165 challenges.

These recommendations now go to the Judge.

There is a lot we don’t know about the challenges and recommendations. For example, of the 12,543 pages in the eight boxes, we don’t know how many of those pages were consumed by the 14 privileged documents; a document obviously could be a page, or hundreds of pages. As to the two phones and iPad, how many of the 291,770 “items” were system and other non-substantive files, and how many were substantive files; so we don’t know what percentage of the substantive items were privileged.

162 privileged and 10 “Highly Personal” files is very substantial, particularly keeping in mind this is just the first batch of documents reviewed from a much larger group of electronic records.

That means the federal government, but for Cohen’s lawsuit, would have been able to review and potentially use a total of 172 documents that the federal government never should have seen.

If 162 privileged documents were seized from a news organization, you better believe the media would be outraged.

Yet to look at the headlines, news organizations are portraying the recommendations as vindicating the government:


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