Criminal Justice

Trump allies reportedly fear FBI-seized taped conversations made by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

  • Print.

Michael Cohen profile photo.

Michael Cohen.

Allies of President Donald Trump are reportedly worried that FBI agents seized taped conversations made by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in raids of his office, home and hotel room on Monday.

Cohen sometimes taped conversations and replayed the digital files for colleagues and Trump himself, according to anonymous sources who spoke with the Washington Post. One source told the newspaper that Cohen liked to record calls so he could use them later as leverage.

New York is a one-party consent state, which means that only one party to a conversation has to consent to a recording.

The Post spoke with legal experts who said the taped conversations would be valuable to prosecutors. New York University law professor Stephen Gillers told the publication any recordings would be a “gold mine.” Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman agreed.

“If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape,” Akerman said.

The FBI reportedly sought records relating to payments made to two women who had claimed they had affairs with Trump, as well as records relating to an Access Hollywood tape in which Trump made vulgar comments about women. The search warrant also reportedly sought communications between Cohen and campaign aides about possible sources of negative publicity before the election.

The Post notes that the attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply to communications conducted to further commission of a crime or fraud. Nor does it apply when the intention is to cover up a crime.

Cohen is reportedly being investigated for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations. Cohen was previously a lawyer for the Trump Organization, but left that position in January 2017 and became Trump’s personal lawyer.

Related article: “How will prosecutors handle privileged documents from Michael Cohen raids?”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.