Yesterday, FBI agents and federal prosecutors raided the Manhattan office of President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
Wednesday morning, The Washington Post cited sources claiming Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, wire fraud, and campaign finance violations, the last presumably related to Cohen’s admitted $130,000 payment to adult video star Stormy Daniels, while The New York Times cites sources saying that the feds were looking for any records of payments to women who say they had affairs with Trump as well as any information about what role the publisher of the National Enquirer might have played in silencing one of them.
President Trump blasted the raid soon after it took place, calling it a “disgraceful situation,” “a total witch hunt,” and “an attack on our country in a true sense.”
The Washington Post cites sources saying agents seized Cohen’s computer, phone, tax returns, and other personal financial records. This would, presumably, give the FBI access to privileged communications between Cohen and his clients. But is the President’s legal assessment accurate? And how often do these kinds of raids happen? What does it take legally to get a warrant to raid an attorney’s office? What were the prosecutors hoping to find?
Alan Dershowitz, professor emeritus of law at Harvard University and author of "Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy" (2017); he tweets @alandersh
Ric Simmons, professor of law at Ohio State University where he focuses on criminal law and evidence