Special Master Rejects More Trump and Cohen Privilege Claims

MANHATTAN (CN) President Donald Trump and his embattled former fixer Michael Cohen’s assertions of attorney-client privilege over files seized by the FBI dipped below coin-toss odds Tuesday, with more than half of their latest claims being rejected.

Of the 1,262 items the president and his attorney claimed deserve protection, only 597 passed muster before the court-appointed “special master” presiding over the dispute.

Federal prosecutors received the other 665 files deemed not to be privileged.

Those numbers pale in comparison to the roughly 4 million files that the FBI seized from Cohen’s apartment, office and hotel room on April 8, pursuant to a warrant for an unspecified fraud investigation.

Cohen filed a lawsuit to protect materials that he claimed qualified for attorney-client privilege. Trump and the Trump Organization later joined as intervening parties.

Later that month, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood appointed her retired colleague Barbara Jones to oversee the privilege dispute. She has filed multiple updates since that time, and Tuesday’s is labeled her third report and recommendations.

On Monday, Jones revealed that federal prosecutors took possession at least 12 audio files late last week, but she did not state how many total recordings the FBI seized from Cohen. The total number of files reviewed, asserted to be privileged, and either protected or rejected remains unclear.

“The specific control numbers identifying the items determined to be privileged and/or highly personal will be provided to the court,” she wrote in her latest report.

Cohen and Trump’s legal teams have not challenged any privilege determinations by the special master since Judge Wood ruled that they would have to do so on the public record.

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