We now have a pretty solid idea of what is going to be addressed during Michael Cohen’s upcoming court date on Wednesday.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed a joint letter Friday with the lawyers for Cohen, President Donald Trump, adult-film star Stormy Daniels, and the Trump Organization outlining what they would like to see on the agenda for that Wednesday hearing.
Among them is an update on the review of documents obtained by the government during the April raids on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room, which is currently being overseen by a special master. It will be the first court date for Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, since special master Barbara Jones was appointed late last month. The special master was appointed to oversee the review of what falls under protected attorney-client privilege and what prosecutors could use against Cohen.
The proposed agenda also included a request for US District Judge Kimba Wood to address Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti’s request to intervene in the case and join the legal proceedings. After Avenatti filed his initial motion to appear in the case, Cohen’s lawyers wrote to Wood in an extensive filing of their opposition to his being admitted into the case late last week.
The lawyers wrote that Avenatti had created a „carnival atmosphere” and should not be allowed into the New York court. Avenatti, they said, focused on „smearing” Cohen. They argued that Avenatti may have violated the New York Rules of Professional Conduct with his public actions related to Cohen.
Avenatti called those arguments „without merit and frivolous” and said it „speaks volumes that they so desperately” want him excluded from the case.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, the US attorney’s office opted against taking a position on Avenatti’s motion.
Avenatti’s client, Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was the recipient of a $130,000 hush-money payment from Cohen just prior to the 2016 presidential election. She was paid in exchange for her silence regarding a 2006 affair she alleged having with Trump. The revelation of that payment ignited a firestorm around Cohen and the president.
The last bit included on the proposed agenda was a request to address Avenatti’s letter to Wood earlier this week where he alleged that Cohen or his lawyers were selectively leaking audio tapes seized in the FBI raids to media outlets. Avenatti also seemed to suggest that there were audio recordings of conversations between Trump and Cohen in the documents obtained by the FBI, but that Cohen had not leaked those.
It was not clear to what exactly Avenatti was referring. The attorney did not point to any specific media reports, and none appeared to be based off of such leaks in the days that followed. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Cohen is under investigation in the Southern District of New York for possible campaign-finance violations and bank fraud. He has not been charged with a crime.