Prosecutors now have 12 recordings seized from ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

April FrancisJul 26, 2018

The tapes were turned over to the government after Cohen, Trump, or the Trump Organization withdrew privilege claims, the filing says. Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani confirmed to Reuters that the recording about McDougal was among the dozen audios, but said that none of the other 11 recordings include conversations Trump.

Monday's filing came from a court-appointed official who is reviewing claims by Cohen's and Trump's lawyers about which of the materials seized from Cohen are shielded by attorney-client privilege. Giuliani said that the recording was less than two minutes long and that there was no indication based on it that Trump knew of the payment to AMI beforehand. Cohen is under criminal investigation by NY federal prosecutors in a case that is separate from the one that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is pursuing.

Last week, the news broke that Cohen had secretly recorded a conversation with Trump in 2016 in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.

Fox News contributor and attorney Ted Williams said that it is very unusual for a lawyer to tape his clients and that neither he nor any other attorney he knows would. Avenatti has a history of taunting the president with claims to have more information on Trump's alleged indiscretions.

The former model, Karen McDougal, says she began a almost yearlong affair with Trump in 2006.

The recordings were taken during raids on Cohen's offices, home and hotel room.

The FBI is probing Cohen's business dealings and his involvement in paying women to keep quiet about their alleged relationships with Trump which would be a breach of election laws as this was carried out as Donald Trump was running for the office of the President.

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Daniels, 39, was paid $130,000 by Cohen on the eve of the 2016 presidential election in exchange for what she has said was her silence about her own sexual tryst with Trump.

"It is not illegal if you are in a one-party consent state and what that means is if there are two parties to a conversation, only one needs to know about recording the conversation so it's not illegal, however there may be a question of ethics here", said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman.

The source said the clear suggestion by Avenatti to Cohen was to work together against Trump.

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of", Trump tweeted. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client".

Lawyers for Cohen could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company, American Media Inc., is run by Trump friend and supporter David Pecker. But he told ABC News in an interview broadcast this month that he now puts "family and country first" and won't let anyone paint him as "a villain of this story".

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