President Trump was interviewed by the hosts of “Fox & Friends” on a variety of topics today, including the status of embattled Trump Organization lawyer Micheal Cohen. Among other things, the President claimed that Mr. Cohen, who is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, only did a “tiny little fraction” of legal work for him. Given that lawyers for Mr. Cohen and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are currently in discussion on how to proceed with the review of the documents recently seized from Mr. Cohen’s office and residences vis-a-vis attorney-client privilege, this piece of information offered by the President has now become a part of the U.S. Attorney’s argument for an expedited review of the aforementioned materials by a Special Master appointed by the Court. In a letter from the U.S. Attorney sent to Judge Kimba Wood only a few hours after the President’s interview, it was noted:
As the Court is aware, after originally stating that the Government seized “thousands, if not millions,” of pages of privileged documents, Cohen subsequently identified three current clients. Of those three clients, one, Sean Hannity, has since said that “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees.” Another, President Trump, reportedly said on cable television this morning that Cohen performs “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his overall legal work. These statements by two of Cohen’s three identified clients suggest that the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents, further supporting the importance of efficiency here.
It will be up to Judge Wood to decide how to proceed with the document review, however, the President’s statements undermine Mr. Cohen’s arguments that practically everything taken from Mr. Cohen was privileged and that Mr. Cohen should be afforded review of the documents before the government.
Letter by USA as to In the Matter of Search Warrants Executed on April 9, 2018 addressed to Judge Kimba M. Wood from Thomas McKay dated April 26, 2018 re: Special Master Procedures Document filed by USA.
Cohen v. United States, 18 Mag. 3161 (KMW) – Docket and Filings
“President Trump distances himself from personal attorney Michael Cohen, says the lawyer handled only ‘a tiny, tiny fraction’ of his legal work”, CNBC, April 26, 2018.