NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is trying to prevent federal investigators from using materials the FBI seized in a search of his Manhattan office, apartment and hotel room this week.
A federal prosecutor’s office said a hearing has been scheduled before U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood for Friday morning to address Cohen’s request for a temporary restraining order related to the judicial warrant that authorized the search.
Federal agents seized records on a variety of subjects in the raid on Monday, including payments that were made in 2016 to women who might have damaging information about Trump.
FBI and Justice Department officials in Washington and New York have refused to discuss the case publicly or say what crimes they are investigating, but people familiar with the investigation have told The Associated Press the search warrant used in the raids sought bank records, business records on Cohen’s dealing in the taxi industry, Cohen’s communications with the Trump campaign and information on payments made to a former Playboy model and a porn actress who say they had affairs with Trump.
Those people spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential details.
It was unclear how much prosecutors might have to reveal about the investigation in open court in the hearing scheduled for Friday.
The FBI raid on the office and residence of President Trump’s personal lawyer is an extraordinary and unusual step that would require high-level authorization at the Justice Department and the burden of evidence showing probable cause. Judy Woodruff gets analysis from attorney Mark Zaid and former federal prosecutor Paul Butler on what it means for the Russia investigation.
Cohen has denied wrongdoing. Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, declined to comment to The Associated Press on Friday morning.
Trump has called the raids a “witch hunt,” “an attack on our country,” and a violation of rules that ordinarily make attorney client communications confidential.
Those confidentiality rules can be set aside under certain circumstances if investigators have evidence that a crime has been committed.
Public corruption prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan are trying to determine, according to one person familiar with the investigation, if there was any fraud related to payments to Karen McDougal, a former Playmate, and Stephanie Clifford, who performs under the name Stormy Daniels.
McDougal was paid $150,000 in the summer of 2016 by the parent company of the National Enquirer under an agreement that gave it the exclusive rights to her story, which it never published. Cohen said he paid Daniels $130,000 in exchange for her silence about her claim to have had a one-night-stand with Trump.
The White House has consistently said Trump denies either affair.
Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles, Tom Hays in New York and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.