Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Judge denies request for Stormy Daniels gag order

Judge denies request for Stormy Daniels gag order

Federal prosecutors investigating U.S. President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen have extracted more than 700 pages of messages sent using encrypted programs like WhatsApp and Signal on phones seized from Cohen, according to a court filing on Friday.

Prosecutors in NY said in a court filing later Friday that they are still processing material seized from Cohen in an April raid.

The material is the most recent to be produced to Cohen's legal team out of more than 3.7 million items seized in an Federal Bureau of Investigation search of his home, hotel room and office in April.

The letter reveals that investigators reconstructed 16 pages of Cohen's documents that had been shredded - indicating that they contained sensitive information he was trying to hide.

Later in the day, a retired judge assisting in the document review recommended extending Friday's deadline to give Cohen's legal team an additional 10 days to review all the material.

In a brief order, U.S. District Judge James Otero in Los Angeles said Cohen had not shown he would face "immediate, irreparable injury" without an immediate restraining order.

Cohen has admitted that he made a $130,000 payment shortly before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has said that she had sex once with Trump in 2006 and was paid to keep quiet about it. Trump has said he never had an affair with Daniels.

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Michael Cohen, a dogged Donald Trump advocate who once bragged that he'd "take a bullet" for his client, faces a variety of legal challenges.

Otero did not decide whether a restraining order should eventually be granted.

Then, after the restraining order application was filed, Avenatti tweeted out this: "The motion for a gag order is a complete joke and baseless".

The government has agreed that all the material be reviewed by Cohen by June 25.

A separate hearing in Daniels' case is scheduled for June 21.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Cohen planned to find new lawyers - preferably recent federal prosecutors in Manhattan themselves - to represent him as the criminal probe continues.

The case is Clifford v Trump et al, U.S. District Court, Central District of California, No. 18-02217.

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