Michael Cohen's legal team has until mid-June to complete a review of documents seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an April raid by investigators probing possible bank fraud by President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer, a judge said.
We also found out prosecutors are trying to piece together documents from a shredder acquired during the raid. If Cohen's team can not finish in time, the remaining documents would be turned over to a separate group government lawyers - known as a "taint team". He noted Avenatti's release of Cohen's leaked banking information, which showed hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from companies with business before the USA government and an investment firm tied to a Russian oligarch.
Immediately after the conference, Avenatti withdrew his pro hac vice motion, stating he would refile his application at a later date if necessary.
He also didn't have a microphone, so he had to get up and walk across the courtroom to stand at the podium any time he wanted to address Judge Kimba M. Wood, the federal district court judge presiding over the matter.
Lawyers for Cohen don't want him involved.
Ryan's complaints weren't limited to Avenatti's TV appearances.
Addressing the media, Avenatti then told reporters there had been "a shocking admission" in court, saying Cohen's lawyer "admitted that there are audio recordings that Michael Cohen was taking for years".
Prosecutor Rachel Maimim said the two Blackberries are now being hacked in the FBI's Quantico headquarters and suggested that the feds are slowly piecing back together the contents to the shredder, which Maimim said were "not voluminous at all". Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has also filed a suit against Cohen, claiming a nondisclosure agreement she struck with Trump is null and void.
"We've got a whole host of information that we are going to be releasing relating to Mr. Cohen and relating to Mr. Trump, so they better buckle up", he said.
Avenatti admitted he had no concrete proof of that claim, but he said the existence of the recordings should be considered a red flag. The judge ruled Wednesday that Cohen's attorneys' review of the materials must be concluded by June 15, or the remaining materials will be sent to a group of lawyers not connected to the case. Avenatti's motion, he said, was "sidestepping his intentionally malicious and prejudicial release of that information". The judge told him that if he is allowed to participate in the process, he would "not be permitted to use this court as a platform for anything" and said he could no longer declare that Cohen is guilty of potential charges.
One of Cohen's attorneys, Stephen Ryan, claimed Avenatti had committed a "drive-by shooting" against the president's old "fixer" when he released "Suspicious Activity Reports" earlier this month that detailed monies paid to Cohen's shell company, Essential Consultants, for advice on how to lobby Trump.
The emails, according to Hendon, undercut a simple claim by Avenatti: that the law firm connected to the California bankruptcy did not represent Clifford in the matter before Wood. Jones said she was set to receive 1 million more files from three of Cohen's cellphones and had already reviewed nearly 300,000 files.