Yevgeniy Nikulin, Russian charged in 2012 LinkedIn & DropBox hacks, now of 'great interest' in Mueller probe

Why does the Russian embassy want to visit accused hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin so very badly, lawyers ask. Good question. Read the rest

'He did nothing wrong,' WH Press Sec. Sarah Sanders says on Trump, 'There are no charges against him.'

"He did nothing wrong," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday about the secret payments Donald Trump made to two women during the 2016 Election via his attorney, who just became a convicted felon. Read the rest

Michael Cohen admits violating campaign finance laws re: Stormy Daniels at Trump's direction

President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen surrendered to the FBI today, and admitted to violating campaign finance laws in relation to payments made to porn performer Stormy Daniels on Donald Trump's orders. Read the rest

Live-blogging Trump's mental breakdown

As the Cohen and Manafort news blows up, we've got Jackhammer Jill watching the Orange Menace's twitter feed like a hawk. When the blowhard begins to melt down, we'll post tweets and analysis here.

Earlier this afternoon, Michael Cohen, in a courtroom in New York, under oath, declared that President Donald Trump “directed” him to commit a federal crime. Within an hour, Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 felony charges.

When Donald Trump landed in West Virginia, he told press as he exited AF1 that he felt sorry for Paul Manafort, and believed the (partly) guilty verdict Manafort received was “sad.”

It's sad things have to “end this way,” said Trump, referring to Manafort's life and career. One imagines Manafort wouldn't appreciate hearing this as much as he'd appreciate a presidential pardon.

Trump waxed on about Manafort:

“He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for many people, it had nothing to do with Russian collusion, they continue the witch hunt.”

He said nothing about Michael Cohen.

But we're pretty sure a storm is a'coming!

Read the rest

Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen reaches guilty plea deal in tax and bank fraud case

A possible plea deal in the fraud case of Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen plea deal may come together as soon as today, NBC reports. Read the rest

LISTEN: Audio of Trump & Cohen talking Playboy model payoff

Donald Trump can be heard on an audiotape released by CNN tonight talking with his former fixer/attorney Michael Cohen about how to purchase the rights to a Playboy model's story about an affair she says she had with Trump years earlier. Read the rest

Michael Cohen secretly taped Donald Trump talking about paying off Playboy model Karen McDougal over sex claims

Longtime Donald Trump fixer-lawyer Michael Cohen “secretly recorded a conversation” with Mr. Trump 2 months before the presidential election in which Trump and Cohen “discussed payments” to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims she had an affair with Trump-- according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording who spoke to the New York Times. Read the rest

Stormy sues again, Avenatti leaks secret Cohen texts of Trump sex affair quash plot

Brace yourself for abundant Avenatti on the telly. Read the rest

Feds to get access to 1 million+ files from Michael Cohen’s seized phones today

Federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen already have access to 300,000 pieces of evidence from the digital devices seized in April. They're about to get access to more than a million of 'em, because Trump's legal team vastly overstated how much would be legitimately 'attorney-client privileged material.' Read the rest

Judge denies Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's request for temporary restraining order

A federal judge rejected a request from President Donald Trump and from Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, for a temporary restraining order to keep federal prosecutors from reading files seized in 'no-knock' FBI raids last week. Read the rest

Sean Hannity revealed as Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's client number 3

In New York today, a judge ordered Michael Cohen to reveal the name of a third client, someone who didn't want to be named. It's Sean Hannity. Read the rest

Contrasting perspectives on the meaning of the raid on Michael Cohen's office

It's hard to know what to make of the raid on Trump family lawyer/bagman/fixer Michael Cohen's office -- there's been plenty of news tick-tock on the subject and legal experts agree that something momentous is going on, but what, exactly, does it all mean. Read the rest

Prosecutors got 'covert' warrants to search Michael Cohen's email, here's what we know of their findings

A court filing in the case of President Donald Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen shows that prosecutors obtained “covert” search warrants on multiple email accounts belonging to Cohen. An early report says “Cohen is in fact performing little to no legal work,” according to sources, and “zero emails were exchanged with President Trump.”

If that's the case, attorney-client privilege doesn't apply.

According to all that is publicly known, Trump does not use email, personally. Others may read out the contents to him, or print out the messages. But he doesn't email.

Read the rest

Some Republicans fear that Cohen had taped conversations between himself and Trump that were seized by FBI

On Monday the FBI raided Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's office and home, and now some in the Trump camp worry that Cohen could have had tapes between himself and Trump.

After all, Cohen "had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid, in part because he was believed to be secretly taping conversations," according to the Washington Post. He is known as someone who tapes conversations, stores them, and then plays them back to colleagues.

“We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes,” said one Trump adviser, according to the Washington Post. “Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?”

It is unknown whether Cohen taped conversations between himself and Trump. But two people familiar with Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers.

“It was his standard practice to do it,” this person said.

Legal experts said Cohen’s taped conversations would be viewed by prosecutors as highly valuable.

“If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape,” said Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor.

Such recordings “would be considered a gold mine,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who specializes in legal ethics.

And so, if there are indeed any such tapes, it makes sense that Cohen is scrambling today to get a restraining order against the use of any materials found in Monday's FBI raid. Read the rest

Trump's lawyer Cohen trying to block information found in FBI raid with a restraining order

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen is trying to stop the government from using information found in the FBI raid that occurred on Monday in his office and home.

Cohen is asking a federal judge for a restraining order today at a US District Court hearing.

According to CNBC:

Cohen's argument is "a dead loser," said former U.S. attorney Harry Litman, who teaches at the UCLA School of Law and continues to practice law. "The search was orthodox and lawful and he has no basis to challenge it," Litman said, based on news reports about the process of obtaining the search warrant.

But even if it turns out that the warrant was acquired on insufficient grounds, Litman said Cohen's strategy for this hearing doesn't hold much water. "Even if it's flagrantly unlawful, the way to challenge that is to keep the government from using the evidence in court against him," Litman said.

Cohen's approach, on the other hand, makes it look like he is trying to temporarily freeze the government's ability to use what it has seized, said Harry Rimm, a partner of the law firm Sullivan & Worcester.

"The argument is likely that this is an unusual case with leaks," where Cohen can't "wait months for a suppression motion because by the time we'd get to a suppression motion in the normal course, Cohen will have suffered terrible harm," Rimm told CNBC in an email.

Image: IowaPolitics.com/Flickr Read the rest

Lawsplaining the FBI raid on Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen

Ken "Popehat" White (previously) is a former US federal prosecutor whose explanations of the minutae of law have been invaluable to my understanding of the legal controversies swirling around Trump and his retinue. Read the rest

FBI raids the office of Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen

Today the FBI raided the office of Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen. They seized various documents, including information related to porn actress Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford.

According to the New York Times, who first reported on the story:

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York...

The payments to Ms. Clifford are only one of many topics being investigated, according to a person briefed on the search. The F.B.I. also seized emails, tax documents and business records, the person said.

And according to CNN, Trump knew about the raid before it was reported, and, of course, kept up with the story by watching reports about it on TV.

Image: IowaPolitics.com - Trump executive Michael Cohen 014, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link Read the rest

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