Michael Cohen ex­pected to split with le­gal team

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Kevin John­son and Christal Hayes

Michael Cohen, a per­sonal lawyer and long­time fixer for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, is ex­pected to break with the le­gal team that is rep­re­sent­ing him in a fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his busi­ness deal­ings, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said Wed­nes­day.

Lawyers Stephen Ryan and Todd Har­ri­son, at the McDer­mott, Will & Emery law firm, have been rep­re­sent­ing Cohen in the fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion that led to a raid on his home, office and ho­tel room. The ex­pected split has led to ques­tions about whether Cohen will co­op­er­ate with fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors in the probe into his busi­ness deal­ings.

The per­son, who is not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly about the mat­ter, said a switch would likely not take place un­til a court-or­dered re­view of doc­u­ments seized in the raid was com­pleted. The dead­line for the re­view is Fri­day.

Nei­ther Cohen nor his lawyers re­sponded to a re­quest for com­ment from USA TO­DAY. ABC News broke the news of Cohen’s change in coun­sel.

The change wasn’t made of­fi­cial in fed­eral court as of Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. The court would no­tify the judge and pros­e­cu­tors of his change in coun­sel. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Cohen has been heat­ing up in re­cent weeks and his team has been go­ing through mil­lions of doc­u­ments as part of the court-or­dered re­view.

Af­ter the doc­u­ments were seized, Cohen ar­gued that his team should be al­lowed to view them and flag any po­ten­tially cov­ered un­der at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege. Trump and the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion also jumped in, ask­ing to view the doc­u­ments be­fore they were handed over to pros­e­cu­tors.

A spe­cial mas­ter ap­pointed by Judge Kimba Wood started re­view­ing the doc­u­ments and had iden­ti­fied 162 that were priv­i­leged so far. Cohen has un­til Fri­day to flag any other doc­u­ments for re­view.

Also in re­cent weeks, two civil law­suits were filed, one claim­ing Cohen col­luded with Keith David­son, a lawyer who rep­re­sented porn star Stormy Daniels, in or­der to pro­tect Trump. An­other suit filed by David­son tar­geted Cohen for al­legedly record­ing con­ver­sa­tions they’d had with­out his knowl­edge.

The tapes, along with other as­pects of Daniels’ nondis­clo­sure agree­ment, were re­port­edly among the doc­u­ments seized by fed­eral agents.

HEC­TOR RETAMAL/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

At­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing Michael Cohen have been go­ing through mil­lions of doc­u­ments.

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