New York, April 10 (IANS) The FBI has raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen and seized documents related to porn star Stormy Daniels along with other bank records, the media reported.
Cohen is a longtime ally of the President, and admitted earlier this year to setting up a limited liability company in 2016 to pay Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006 that the White House has denied.
His attorney Stephen Ryan told CNN that the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York on Monday had executed “a series of search warrants” including at his office, and “seized the privileged communications” between Cohen and his clients.
The Monday raids included the Loew’s Regency hotel where Cohen has been staying. There were approximately a dozen Federal Bureau of Investigation agents involved.
The FBI also seized emails, tax documents and business records, including communications between Trump and Cohen.
Ryan called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary”, and said federal prosecutors had told him it stemmed partially from a referral by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller,” Ryan said in the statement.
“It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.
“These government tactics are also wrong because Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”
Trump slammed the move as a “disgraceful situation” and “an attack on our country”, reports CNN.
A White House official said Trump had been watching TV reports, and that the President knew about the raid before the news broke.
“This is ridiculous. This is now getting ridiculous,” Trump said Monday, pointing to a “whole new level of unfairness”.
Michael Avenatti, Daniels’ attorney, responded to the news on Twitter, saying “an enormous amount of misplaced faith has been placed” on Cohen’s shoulders.
Mueller’s office and Justice Department have not yet commented on the Monday raids.