March 18, 2019 / 4:58 PM / in a month

Documents related to raid on ex-Trump lawyer Cohen can be unsealed: judge

FILE PHOTO: Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of U.S. President Donald Trump, talks to reporters as he departs after testifying before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Documents related to the FBI’s raid on Michael Cohen’s office and hotel room must be made public on Tuesday, a U.S. judge ruled on Monday, clearing the way for a glimpse into the investigation that led to criminal charges against President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer.

U.S. District Judge William Pauley in Manhattan ordered federal prosecutors to file redacted versions of the documents, which had been sealed, on Tuesday. Pauley had ordered the prosecutors to prepare the redacted versions for public filing last month, in response to a motion by news media organizations.

The April raids were part of an investigation that eventually led Cohen to plead guilty in August to, among other crimes, violating campaign finance law by paying hush money shortly before the 2016 presidential election, at Trump’s direction, to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.

Cohen, who worked for Trump for more than 10 years, went on to plead guilty to additional charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February. He admitted that he falsely told Congress in 2017 that Trump’s company had stopped talks about a potential hotel development in Moscow before the Republican nominating contest in 2016.

Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison.

Since pleading guilty, Cohen has publicly repudiated Trump. Last month, he testified before a U.S. House of Representatives panel, calling Trump a “racist,” “conman” and “cheat.”

Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia. Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt” and has repeatedly said there was “no collusion.” Moscow has denied meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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