Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who conducted the raids were seeking information on payments to Ms Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also claims to have had a sexual relationship with Mr Trump, a person familiar with the matter said. She has alleged that she had sex once in 2006 with Trump and was paid shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about it. Daniels claims Cohen's denials portray her as a liar and sued for defamation. Cohen's lawyers argued that they should decide which documents are protected and which can be handed over in the search for potential secret deals made outside a campaign to protect Trump and whether they constitute illegal campaign contributions.
Wood said the intervention of a court or special master in the process was not unprecedented, citing the prosecution of Lynne Stewart, a radical Manhattan lawyer who was charged with smuggling communications out of prison for one of her clients. Investigators have also looked for a possible broader pattern of fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes in Mr Cohen's private dealings, including his work for Mr Trump and real estate purchased by Russian buyers, the person said.
Cohen is slated to appear before a USA district judge in NY to answer questions about his business practices, which have been under investigation by the FBI for months. I mean, I am constantly amazed with each passing day of the lack of intelligence that has been demonstrated by this man, this attorney, Michael Cohen.
Herndon, Trump's lawyer, said that after the process is resolved, the ultimate outcome on what documents are deemed unprivileged may produce new litigation. It was not immediately clear on Friday what specific issues the court hearing would address.
Whatever the judge decided, Hendon said, would have to "withstand scrutiny for all time". "This has to be done right", she said.
She added that she was anxious about the "appearance of fairness", given the stakes. Judge Wood approved his request to be heard in the closed meeting.
In an interview, Avenatti said he wants to make sure "that the integrity of the documents, whatever was seized, is maintained".
It will be the first public hearing related to the F.B.I. raid that has roiled the White House. Her allegation was based on a February 13 statement by Cohen that she said hurt her reputation.
Searches of lawyers' offices are rare but not unheard of, and prosecutors use what is called a separate "taint team" to review the material and exclude any documents that are covered by the attorney-client privilege. Mr. Cohen has also filed a libel suit against Fusion.
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