WATCH: Stormy Daniels Has Some Fun At Trump’s Lawyer’s Expense After The Hearing
The media circus surrounding the hearing on Monday involving the federal investigation into President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen was capped off by a brief but loaded statement made by porn star Stormy Daniels to the press.
“For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law,” Daniels told reporters outside the federal courthouse in New York City Monday (video below). “He has considered himself and openly referred to himself as Mr. Trump’s ‘fixer.’ He has played by a different set of rules, or should we say no rules at all. He has never thought that the little man, or especially women — even more women like me — mattered. That ends now. My attorney and I are committed to making sure everyone finds out the truth and the facts of what happened. And I give my word that we will not rest until that happens.”
A week ago, the FBI raided the office, home, and hotel room of Cohen after receiving information from Special Counsel Robert Mueller that reportedly indicates that the lawyer may be guilty of bank and wire fraud and violating campaign finance laws. Among Cohen’s dealings being investigated is his payment of $130,000 to Daniels to sign a nondisclosure agreement in 2016 concerning her alleged brief affair with Trump a decade earlier.
Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) has already broken the agreement by talking repeatedly about the alleged affair, but she and her attorney claim that the NDA is invalid because Trump himself never signed it. Both Cohen and Trump maintain that the then-presidential candidate knew nothing about the NDA.
Daniels’ arrival at the hearing on Monday set off near hysteria among reporters on the scene, with journalists and cameramen jumping barricades, running, and pushing past each other to get shots of the porn star entering the building.
“Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said he and his client attended the hearing out of concern that none of the documents seized in raids on Cohen’s property last week be tampered with or destroyed,” CNBC reports.
One of the big revelations from the hearing was the name of the mysterious, formerly undisclosed “third client” of Cohen, Fox News host Sean Hannity, which the lawyer was forced to reveal after Judge Kimba Wood rejected his request to protect based on attorney-client privilege. The revelation of Hannity’s name was reportedly met with both “gasps and laughter” in the courtroom.
Hannity responded to the revelation on his radio and television shows on Monday by saying that while he had asked Cohen on “occasion” in the past for his “input and perspective” on some legal questions, which he said mainly involved real estate, he never retained him or paid him for his services.
The central issue of the hearing on Monday involved who was going to be allowed to have access to the materials seized in the FBI raids. Reuters reports (formatting adjusted):
Cohen has asked the court to give his own lawyers the first look at the seized materials so they can identify documents that are protected by attorney-client privilege. Failing that, they want the court to appoint an independent official known as a special master, a role typically filled by a lawyer, to go through the records and decide what prosecutors can see.
But prosecutors want the documents to be reviewed for attorney-client privilege by a “taint team” of lawyers within their own office, who would be walled off from the main prosecution team.
Judge Wood signaled that she was inclined to use the taint team approach, describing the appointment of a special master as potentially slow-walking the case. “My interest is in getting this moving speedily and efficiently,” said Wood.
“I have faith in the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office. Their integrity is unimpeachable,” she said. “I think that a taint team is a viable option.” Though she seemed to lean toward that option, she did not decide definitively on Monday and did note that a special master “might have a role” in the case.
Video below via CNN: