Michael Cohen and Donald Trump got some really bad legal news yesterday that has been underplayed because of the massive amounts of publicity surrounding the new Mueller indictments and Trump’s trip to Europe.
Yesterday the judge overseeing the Cohen case in New York released 884,000 more documents to federal prosecutors according to the New York Daily News. The prosecutors now have more than 2 million pieces of evidence seized from Cohen during the FBI raids on his home, office and hotel in April. (The judge had previously released over 1,300,000 items to federal prosecutors.)
The new documents released are thought by many to be more important and possibly contain more evidence that might be used by prosecutors to make a criminal case against Cohen.
Special Master Barbara Jones, who was appointed by a federal judge in April to examine the documents, noted that the new items released to prosecutors “were not designated privileged, partially privileged or highly personal.” She said her efforts at reviewing seized documents is not yet over but are “ongoing.”
After her appointment Jones’s job was to do a legal analysis of all of the documents seized by the FBI to determine if the items are protected under attorney-client privilege or are protected because they are of a highly personal nature. It turns out almost none of the evidence seized is protected and therefore can be used by prosecutors.
The April 9 FBI raid came after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced they had launched an investigation into Cohen for violating campaign finance law due to his payoff of former porn star Stormy Daniels and other women who had sexual affairs with Donald Trump. Cohen is also being investigated for bank and wire fraud and possibly other crimes that relate to his business dealings.
So far Cohen has not been charged with any crimes and he continues to deny all allegations against him. However, this latest release of documents may push Cohen to cutting a plea deal with prosecutors.
Cohen no doubt now realizes that he will lose at trial and be convicted of multiple crimes. He knows what crimes he committed, and he knows what evidence the government has against him. His lawyers were trying to get the judge to rule that the evidence against him was not admissible in court but that clearly is not going to happen.
This latest devastating blow has shattered any hope Michael Cohen had of staying out of jail. There is an excellent chance this is the last piece of news needed to push him into making a plea deal with prosecutors. The terms of a plea deal would include him agreeing to testify against Donald Trump in exchange for reduced charges and lenient treatment.
The possibility of a plea deal has reminded everyone that the Michael Cohen case is not just about Michael Cohen. It is also about President Donald Trump, with whom Cohen had a close working relationship with for 20 years.
Much of the evidence now being released to prosecutors are communications between Cohen and Trump.
Which means much of the new evidence can be used by Mueller and the Manhattan prosecutors against both Cohen and Trump to make criminal cases against both of them.
We may soon be hearing news of a Michael Cohen plea deal, and when we do, it will be the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.