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Trump lawyer Michael Cohen appears in court with porn star Stormy Daniels watching

  • President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen appeared in federal court Monday on a request to protect files of his seized by the FBI.
  • Porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had a sexual encounter with Trump, also attended the hearing.
  • Trump has raged about the raids on Cohen's files, in which FBI agents seized documents related to a payout to Daniels in exchange for her silence about the purported affair.
Michael Cohen
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Michael Cohen

Michael Cohen, longtime personal attorney for President Donald Trump, on Monday showed up at U.S. District Court in lower Manhattan after skipping an initial Friday hearing.

Cohen is asking Judge Kimba Wood to bar prosecutors from getting the first look at client files seized from him by the FBI last week. A lawyer for the president, Joanna Hendon, on Sunday filed a motion asking the judge to grant the president the privilege of reviewing the documents first.

The hearings follow the April 9 raids, in which federal agents seized materials from Cohen's office, home, hotel room and electronic devices.

Both Cohen and Trump argue that they should be allowed to decide which of the documents should be permanently withheld because they are protected by attorney-client privilege.

U.S. attorneys pushed back against Cohen's request in a filing Friday, saying that "Cohen is in fact performing little to no legal work," and alleging that "zero" emails were exchanged between Cohen and Trump. Their assessment was based on already conducted searches of Cohen's email accounts which had not been reported before the court filing.

In a Monday court filing, lawyers for Cohen said that he represented three clients between 2017 and 2018, but refused to identify one of them. The anonymous client had told Cohen not to disclose his name, his lawyers said, partly because it would likely "be embarrassing or detrimental" to him.

The other two clients are Trump and Elliott Broidy, a former deputy finance chairman for the Republican National Committee who resigned following reports that he had impregnated a Playboy model in an extramarital affair.

Cohen was paid $250,000 to negotiate a $1.6 million payoff deal to the woman.

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) arrives at the United States District Court Southern District of New York for a hearing related to Michael Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal attorney and confidante, April 16, 2018 in New York City.
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Adult film actress Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) arrives at the United States District Court Southern District of New York for a hearing related to Michael Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal attorney and confidante, April 16, 2018 in New York City.

Search warrants were obtained for each of the raids, according to the prosecutors' filing. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia, provided a referral for the raids. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whose job security has recently come into question, signed off on the searches.

The agents seized material related to Cohen's work negotiating nondisclosure agreements for women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. One of those women is porn star Stormy Daniels, who was paid $130,000 by Cohen shortly before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged dalliance with Trump years earlier. Trump has repeatedly denied that the affair ever happened.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, attended the Monday hearing alongside Michael Avenatti, her lawyer in a pending suit against Trump and Cohen seeking to void her hush deal.

Investigators also searched for documents relating to the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump boasts about sexual harassment, as well as communications between Trump and Cohen about the tape.

And the agents reportedly sought documents in Cohen's possession related to payments made to another woman who claims she had an affair with Trump: Playboy model Karen McDougal.