Michael Cohen and Donald Trump are facing increasing legal peril, according to Stormy Daniels's lawyer Michael Avenatti, who's been tweeting out the latest dispatches from the president's personal attorney's federal court hearing.
On Thursday, Avenatti tweeted word that the FBI had imaged 16 of Cohen's cell phones and BlackBerries, which had all been seized in a federal raid on Cohen's office and hotel room earlier this month. Avenatti says it could only mean one thing for Cohen, President Donald Trump's personal counsel: disaster.
"Usually not a good sign when the target appears to have saved old phones and there are that many phones to recover," Avenatti wrote. "BIGLY bad...for many."
Thursday brought other potential harbingers of doom for the Trump-Cohen team, as the president confirmed for the first time that Cohen represented him in his dealings with Daniels during an interview with Fox & Friends.
"He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me," Trump told the show's hosts. "From what I’ve seen, he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this, which would have been a problem."
The admission was likely to Cohen's chagrin. On Wednesday, he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during federal court proceedings in Los Angeles over a lawsuit brought by Stormy Daniels challenging a $130,000 non-disclosure agreement orchestrated by Cohen just weeks before the 2016 election.
Trump's comment to Fox & Friends may have landed Cohen in more legal trouble. After the Thursday-morning interview, federal prosecutors in New York filed a claim arguing that Trump's "crazy Stormy Daniels" remark contradicted Cohen's appeals to attorney-client privilege.
Later in the day, the judge in the case, Kimba Wood, announced the appointment of a "special master" to review the communications and records between Cohen and the president the FBI seized to decide which are protected by attorney-client privilege.
"It's a hugely damaging admission by the president, because according to what he said on Air Force One a few weeks ago, he didn't know anything about the agreement, he didn't know anything about the payment, Michael Cohen went off and did this on a lark and Mr. Trump knew nothing about it," Avenatti said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "We now find out that that's bogus."
Avenatti counts it as another win for him and his client.
"They keep coming," he said. "I don't know how I've fallen into such good luck in this case, but I'm going to take it."
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