Judge Likely to Appoint Special Master in Cohen Case; Trump Confused

Judge Likely to Appoint Special Master in Cohen Case; Trump Confused April 26, 2018

Judge Kimba Wood, the federal judge overseeing the case involving the handling of evidence seized by the FBI during a raid of Michael Cohen’s offices and home, signaled to both sides that she is likely to appoint a special master to go through that material and decide what prosecutors get to see.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said Wednesday that she wants an update from prosecutors on the progress in their turning over to Cohen’s lawyers a set of materials seized from him April 9 by FBI agents.

She also asked in an order that both prosecutors and lawyers for Cohen and Trump “be prepared” to weigh in on how a watchdog – “should one be appointed” – would review Cohen’s files to prevent violation of attorney-client privilege for his clients.

This is the proper way to handle the situation. Appointing a special master, as opposed to a DOJ “taint team,” avoids the appearance of bias on the part of prosecutors and thus protects the integrity of the investigation from attack. They’ll try to attack it anyway, of course, but appointing a special master, especially one that is agreed upon by both sides, makes such attacks toothless. All of this has left Trump rather confused, it seems:

Yeah, that’s now how this works. It’s not how any of this works. The client doesn’t get to decide what is and is not covered by attorney/client privilege and/or by the legal exceptions to that privilege, the courts do.

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