Feds have 12 Michael Cohen audio recordings

Thursday, 26 Jul, 2018

Avenatti has a history of taunting the president with claims to have more information on Trump's alleged indiscretions.

A dozen audio recordings seized by the FBI from President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, were forwarded to federal prosecutors after lawyers dropped challenges on attorney-client privilege grounds, a former judge revealed Monday. Cohen has not been charged with a crime.

Trump said Saturday it was "inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client - totally unheard of & perhaps illegal".

Cohen's house, hotel and office were raided this spring. In the recording, which was discovered during a court-ordered seizure of Cohen's business records and documents, Trump talks about making a payment linked to former Playboy model Karen McDougal.

"It's not the recording that is valuable", one person told her.

After President Trump dumped Michael Cohen on Twitter for recording private conversations with him, Cohen has expressed a sense of resilience to close friends. The existence of that tape came to light last Friday when Trump's current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed details of it to The New York Times. Trump's attorneys have argued that any payments to accusers would have been made regardless of his presidential candidacy, and that no violation occurred.

None in fact was made.

Neither Davis nor Giuliani returned a request for comment.

The reports raise questions about why Trump's campaign denied knowledge of the deal between McDougal and American Media when it became public, and they have fanned speculation about how much damage Cohen might be able to inflict on the president.

Yet "it remains murky whether and when a NY lawyer can ethically tape without advance disclosure", Harris said. The AMA's Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility said in 2001 that so long as it isn't against the law for any other reason and the lawyer doesn't lie if the client asks directly about it, then conversations can be recorded legally and ethically - even without informing the client first. One concern when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his home, hotel room, and office back in April was that authorities might get their hands on tapes of Cohen and Trump - and apparently, they did.

The recording could also further entangle the president in a criminal investigation that for months has targeted Cohen. The Trump-friendly supermarket tabloid never ran her story that claimed she had an affair with Trump, in a tactic known by staffers at that newspaper as "catch-and-kill". Federal investigators had sought documents in the Cohen raids related to that payment and similar payments to other women.

Cohen had made a practice of recording conversations, unbeknownst to those he was speaking with.

Prosecutors are interested in knowing whether or not Cohen broke campaign finance laws by paying McDougal, and if Trump knew about the payment.