MANHATTAN (CN) – Only a tiny fraction of the files the FBI seized from President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s properties last month have been found privileged in a retired federal judge’s initial review on Monday.
Court-appointed special master Barbara Jones inspected only a small percentage of the seized files, including eight boxes of hard-copy materials, two iPhones and an iPad.
If this initial tranche serves as a guide, a vanishingly small percentage of files will be deemed protected under attorney-client privilege or as “highly personal.”
Jones started her review with eight boxes of hard copy materials seized by the FBI.
“Out of 639 total items consisting of 12,543 pages, the special master agrees with [Cohen] and/or [Trump and the Trump Organization] and finds that 14 items are privileged and/or partially privileged,” Jones wrote in a 2-page report.
Picking apart the contents of two phones and an iPad, Jones found that only 148 out of 291,770 total items were privileged in whole or in part. She withheld another seven items as highly personal.
In her first review, Jones agreed with the vast majority of Cohen, Trump and the Trump Organization’s privilege assertions, save for three files that she said were not privileged.
Jones will turn over all files deemed not to be privileged or highly personal to prosecutors for their ongoing investigation.
Cohen’s legal team still needs to sift through millions of files and finish their privilege review by June 15.
At a hearing last week, Cohen’s attorney Todd Harrison revealed that his legal team only has scanned 1.3 million out of 3.7 million files turned over to them by the government. These include the contents of 13 mobile devices and 18 digital media devices, which Harrison defined as hard drives, thumb drives and “things like that.”
“That is easier to upload and easier to review than mobile devices, but still, you know, a somewhat laborious process, your honor,” Harrison said at the time.
Prosecutors at the hearing said two BlackBerrys and the contents of a shredding machine have been sent to FBI headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, where inspection is expected to be completed within two to three weeks.