Depending on which side of the courtroom you’re standing on, I’m guessing this is either good news or really, really bad news.
For Donald Trump’s longtime “fixer” and personal attorney, Michael Cohen, it really seems kinda bad. Like, “I’ll be keeping my soap on a rope, please” bad.
ABC News is reporting that Cohen’s situation has gotten increasingly bad, with his legal team dropping him and the very real prospects that he’ll be working with federal prosecutors.
Some reports have emerged in the last 24 hours that he has been telling associates that he expects he’ll be going to prison.
We’ll see, but in the meantime, there is a Friday deadline for a privilege review on more than 3.7 million documents that were seized when Cohen’s office and home were raided on April 9. After these things are handed over to Judge Kimba Wood, the legal firm handling the case are apparently washing their hands of the matter.
Cohen, now with no legal representation, is likely to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York, sources said. This development, which is believed to be imminent, will likely hit the White House, family members, staffers and counsels hard.
Cohen has been described as the one who “knows where all the bodies are buried,” as far as Donald Trump’s less-than-savory past dealings. That could be why Trump has lashed out so vehemently against his situation.
Really, Cohen got himself into the mess, but Trump made it worse when he rolled on the guy and admitted that he actually did pay off his porn star mistress, through Cohen’s shell company, right before the election.
Trump has a way of screwing over friends and family, it appears.
Two sources who are familiar with a warrant in the case told ABC News in April that federal agents were hunting for records tied to Cohen’s personal business dealings and secret deals with alleged mistresses, media organizations and the 2016 presidential campaign.
Cohen’s attorney at the time of the raids released a terse statement shortly after the April raids arguing that the seized documents included “the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney-client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”
“These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities,” Stephen Ryan said.
After a “special master” – former federal judge Barbara Jones - was appointed to go over the material, in order to determine what fell under attorney-client privilege, it was determined that 162 items out of the first 300,000 reviewed fit the bill.
Of those items proposed by Cohen or the Trump Organization to be “privileged,” only 3 were approved as such.
Judge Wood has given Cohen’s attorneys until Friday to complete the review of the remaining documents. Any remaining items to be reviewed would be turned over to a team of federal prosecutors unconnected to the case to complete the examination of the documents.
The sheer volume of materials seized is mindboggling, and it shows prosecutors are taking this investigation very seriously.
So is it a political hit job?
I’m sure there are some who will insist it is, and I’m not going to say there isn’t some side eye being thrown at how Trump ran his campaign.
I’m also not saying Cohen doesn’t deserve to be raked over the legal coals.
I’m just going to say that it’s a bad time to be a greasy “fixer” for a Manhattan conman, right now.