Yesterday three lawyers working for Trump sent a letter to Judge Kimba Wood,Â Â Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, asking that Trump be allowed to review all the documents seized from Michael Cohen before criminal investigators see it.
(If the name “Kimba Wood” sounds familiar, she was nominated to be U.S. Attorney General by Bill Clinton in 1993. Her name was withdrawn because of the nannygate thing,Â even thought she hadn’t done anything illegal, or anything that a lot of the Republicans in Congress hadn’t done, I’m sure.Â If she ever wanted to get revenge on the Right for that mess, now’s her chance. She is the judge who sentenced Michael Milken to ten years in prison. I also see in her bio that she originally was nominated to the SDNY court by Ronald Reagan on the recommendation ofÂ Â SenatorÂ Al D’Amato, however. Make of that what you will. )
Judge Wood is scheduled to have a hearing this afternoon for the purpose of ascertaining that Cohen actually works as a lawyer. There’s some question whether he has had anything resembling a “law practice” for several years, in which case any pretense at privilege would go up in smoke.
The stuff seized in the raid last week is supposed to next go to a “taint team,” prosecutors who are not part of the investigation into Cohen, review all the material and eliminate anything that might be covered by lawyer privilege. Trump’s lawyers are trying to stop that, however.
â€œThe president objects to the governmentâ€™s proposal to use a â€˜taint teamâ€™ of prosecutors from the very office that is investigating this matter to conduct the initial privilege review of documents seized from the Presidentâ€™s personal attorney, Michael Cohen,â€™â€™ Hendonâ€™s letter said.
She added that â€œthe president respectfully requestsâ€ that the judge issue an order barring the taint team from conducting an initial review of the seized material and require the government to turn over a copy of that material to Cohenâ€™s lawyers.
Then, the president wants the court to direct Cohen â€œto identify to the president all seized materials that relate to him in any way and to provide a copy of those materials to him and his counsel,â€ according to the letter. Any disputes about what material was or wasnâ€™t covered by the attorney-client privilege would then be decided by a judge, under the presidentâ€™s proposal.
Considering that the FBI apparently seized a truckload of stuff, this kind of review could drag on for years. I hope Judge Wood just says no.