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Special master in Cohen case finds thousands of items privileged in final report

The Hill logo The Hill 8/16/2018 Emily Birnbaum
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The special master appointed to review materials seized from President Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen said Thursday that she found more than 7,000 privileged items in total, according to a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In her final report, Special Master Barbara Jones said she has determined 7,146 items are protected by attorney-client privilege, while 285 are "highly personal" and eight are "partially privileged." Jones added that there is some overlap among the categories.

Jones said the government has not been able to crack Cohen's Blackberry yet but recommended that its contents be reviewed in the case it does become decrypted.

Thursday's filing also indicated that 57 of the items she deemed "not privileged" were contested by Cohen's attorney, who did not raise the objections in court, as necessitated by a May 31 court order.

More than 1 million documents and materials were seized in the FBI's April raid of Cohen's home, office and hotel room.

Jones was appointed in April to review the items seized by the FBI and has since conducted six reviews of the documents, each time determining which materials are protected by attorney-client privilege.

Cohen is under investigation for alleged bank and tax fraud, as well as campaign finance violations, partially related to the $130,000 nondisclosure payment he made to adult film star Stormy Daniels to ensure her silence over an alleged affair with Donald Trump more than a decade ago.

Cohen's legal team initially argued that more than 12,000 of the seized documents should be protected by attorney-client privilege.


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