Judge still considering how to handle Trump documents in Cohen case

NEW YORK (CBSNews) -- A federal judge considering how to handle documents seized in an FBI raid of President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, ended a lengthy hearing Monday without making a final decision. However, Judge Kimba Wood ordered prosecutors to catalogue the seized material and load it into a searchable database and then share it with defense attorneys. Prosecutors were told not to review the contents of the material at this time, but they could do a search of keywords to determine in part the volume of material. They said they could begin to make some material available within days.

Lawyers for Cohen had asked for the appointment of a special master to review the seized material and make sure nothing protected by attorney-client privilege is used by prosecutors in its criminal probe.

Judge Wood said she trusted prosecutors to review the material with a so-called "taint team" to determine attorney client privileges but did not rule out the possibility of a third-party to review the material. She said she'd think about it.

The paneled courtroom in U.S. District Court in Manhattan was packed with attorneys, reporters and onlookers.

Cohen, wearing a dark suit and blue tie, sat quietly at the defense table, occasionally speaking to his attorneys.

Adult film star Stormy Daniels turned heads when she entered the courtroom with her attorney. She was swarmed by photographers when she arrived at the courthouse. She sat on a folding chair along a side wall, a couple of yards away from Cohen, who never turned around to look at her.

One of the matters investigators want to know in its probe is whether Cohen violated the law in his $130,000 payment to Daniels who alleges she had sex with Mr. Trump in 2006.

Prosecutors said they raided Cohen's premises as part of an investigation into his personal business dealings. They are seeking to have the ordinary procedure of reviewing the documents used with prosecutors separate from the investigation called taint teams.

A surprise disclosure during the hearing was that Cohen has three clients, one of whom is Fox News host Sean Hannity. Cohen's attorney sought to keep the name secret saying the client believed it would be embarrassing to make his name public, but Judge Wood ordered the name to be revealed.

On his radio show Monday, Hannity denied doing anything improper.

"I never paid legal fees to Michael, but I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective," Hannity said.

Share this article: