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Michael Cohen hearing: What is it about and why is Stormy Daniels going to be there?

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 1:20 PM

FBI Raids Offices of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen

Update 3:09 p.m. ET -- Michael Cohen’s lawyer said in court that Cohen’s third client is FOX News commentator Sean Hannity. Judge Kimba Wood ordered the client’s name revealed during the hearing. 

Previous Post: A judge will hear arguments Monday over whether President Donald Trump and his attorney, Michael Cohen, should be allowed to review documents federal agents seized from Cohen last week before federal prosecutors are able to do so.

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The documents, taken from Cohen’s office, apartment and a hotel room, were part of an FBI raid conducted to gather information as part of a criminal investigation into Cohen’s business dealings, according to the Justice Department.  

One of the president’s attorneys has asked the judge to give the president copies of all of Cohen's seized materials so that the attorney could identify any materials that involved Trump. Once they established that the material involved dealings for Trump, the attorney argued, they could then determine what material would be deemed “privileged.” 

Cohen filed a temporary restraining order last week to stop investigators from reviewing the material.

The hearing is set for 2 p.m. Monday in Manhattan. Federal Judge Kimba Wood is presiding.

>> Related: Judge rejects restraining order on evidence seized from Trump's personal lawyer

What is privileged material and why are the president’s attorneys in court Monday? Here’s a look at what led to the hearing.

What's happened to get to the hearing on Monday

  • The Washington Post has reported that Cohen is being investigated for bank and wire fraud.
  • Last week, FBI agents raided Cohen's home, office and safe deposit box. They seized papers and electronic material. 
  • According to Cohen's attorney, investigators in the federal prosecutors office for the Southern District of New York City were informed by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller that Cohen arranged for a payment of $130,000 to Daniels in exchange for Daniels’ silence about an affair with Trump.
  • Daniels has filed suit to get out of the agreement, claiming it was voided because Trump did not sign the agreement document.
  • Trump says he knew nothing about the agreement, that it was something Cohen did on his own. 

Who are the players

  • Cohen – Trump’s long-time attorney was ordered by the judge to appear at the hearing to answer questions about who his clients are. 
  • Trump – It’s communications with Cohen that Trump is looking to protect.
  • Joana Hendon – Trump’s attorney.
  • Stormy Daniels – Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is an adult movie star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006, and that Cohen paid her $130,000 in “hush money” prior to the 2016 presidential election.
  • Michael Avenatti – Daniels’ attorney. Avenatti told The Washington Post he would be there because, “We want to maintain or ensure that the integrity of the documents, whatever was seized, is maintained.” 
  • Todd Harrison – One of Cohen’s attorneys.
  • Attorneys from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York – They are prosecuting the case.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation 

What is this hearing for?

In short Trump wants to review material seized from his personal lawyer before federal investigators review the material.  

The president and Cohen are arguing that they want to be allowed to review documents that in relate to the president in any way. They want to review the documents to protect attorney-client privilege, according to a letter filed with the court on Sunday night.

The Justice Department is arguing that there is no need for Cohen and Trump to see the material because they have created a “clean team,” separate from anything to do with the case, to review the material. 

The job of the “clean team” is to review and separate if necessary material that could compromise attorney-client privilege. 

>> Related: Trump allies fear investigators seized Cohen recordings in raid: reports

What does attorney-client privilege mean and how does it apply here?

Attorney-client privilege means a person has a right not to disclose, and prevent others from disclosing, communications between himself and his attorney.

The privilege is asserted when a person is served with a legal demand for the material.

In this case, material has been collected from Cohen’s home and office, and Cohen and the president (his client), are saying they need to see the material to determine if it falls under the attorney-client privilege.

According to USA Today, Joanna Hendon, one of Trump’s lawyers, filed papers late Sunday asking that prosecutors be blocked from reviewing material seized in the raid until Cohen and Trump can review the material.

"Fairness and justice — as well as the appearance of fairness and justice — require that, before they are turned over to the Investigative team, the seized materials relating to the President must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the president," Hendon wrote.  

Attorney-client privilege is different from executive privilege. Executive privilege applies to the president of the United States and is rooted in the Article II, section 2 of the Constitution. Executive privilege means that some conversations with the president are protected from discovery by others. 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in United States v Richard Nixon, that the executive privilege is not absolute. 

Who are his clients?

The judge has asked that Cohen provide a list of his clients, something Cohen’s lawyers say they shouldn’t have to turn over.

According to a court filing, Cohen worked for three clients providing legal advice during 2017 and 2018 – GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy, Trump, and a third party who asked not to be named. Cohen represented Broidy when he had an extramarital affair.

>> Related: Stormy Daniels to attend Michael Cohen's hearing Monday, attorney says

What about the Stormy factor?

Daniels and her lawyer, Avenatti, will be in court Monday, Avenatti sad over the weekend. Avenatti told The Washington Post why he thought it was important for him to be there last week.

“We want to maintain or ensure that the integrity of the documents, whatever was seized, is maintained,” he said. 

Michael Cohen has been ordered to appear in federal court in New York, Monday, April 16, 2018, for arguments over last week's raid of his home and office. The raid sought information on a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had sex with a married Trump in 2006.(AP Photo)

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Melania Trump poses with Bushes, Clintons and Obamas at Barbara Bush funeral

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 5:44 PM

First Families Pose Together At Barbara Bush Funeral

The current first lady posed for a picture with former first ladies and past presidents Saturday at Barbara Bush’s funeral.

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First Lady Melania Trump is seen in the image, taken by photographer Paul Morse, with the Bushes, Clintons and Obamas.

Trump, who attended the funeral without her husband, is seen standing alongside Michelle Obama.

“It was my honor to travel to Houston to give my respects to Barbara Bush and the remarkable life she led as a mother, wife, and fearless First Lady,” she said in a statement. “My sincerest thoughts and prayers continue to be with George H.W., and the entire Bush family.”

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Royal baby: New addition to the royal family will be fifth in line for the throne

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 8:51 AM

7 Interesting Facts about the Royal Family

A new British prince was born on Monday and that means a new line of succession to the British throne.

Move over, Prince Harry, your new nephew will bump you one step down the line, and shake up everyone who follows you.

The British line of succession was established in the 17th century after James II left the country and the throne in 1688. By 1701, the Act of Settlement established that the country’s Parliament could determine who would rule the country.

The act said that only Protestants could rule – no Roman Catholics could be considered and those in line for the throne could not marry a Catholic. In 2013, the Succession to the Crown Act ended the provision against marrying a Catholic. However, a Roman Catholic may not rule the country.

The law also stated that male heirs, no matter where they fell in the birth order, would displace female heirs in the line of succession. In other words, a younger brother would jump over an older sister in the succession line.

The Succession to the Crown Act amended that portion of the Act of Settlement by ending the practice of moving sons to the front of the line – called male primogeniture. The act applies to those born after Oct. 28, 2011. Princess Charlotte, the daughter of Prince William, is the first female in the line of succession who will not be skipped over by a younger sibling.

Here is the line of succession as stands after the birth of the new prince:

The line of Succession

Queen Elizabeth

1. The Prince of Wales – Prince Charles (Elizabeth’s first child)
2. The Duke of Cambridge – Prince William (Prince Charles’ son)
3. Prince George of Cambridge – William’s son
4. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge - William’s daughter
5. The new royal baby – brother to George and Charlotte
6. Prince Henry of Wales – Prince Harry (William’s brother; Charles second child)
8. The Duke of York – Prince Andrew (Elizabeth’s third child)
7. Princess Beatrice of York – Andrew’s daughter
8. Princess Eugenie of York – Andrew’s daughter
9. The Earl of Wessex – Prince Edward (brother of Prince Charles; Elizabeth’s fourth child)
10. James, Viscount Severn – (Prince Edward’s son)
11. The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor – (Prince Edward’s daughter)
12. The Princess Royal – Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth; her second child)
13. Peter Phillips – son of Princess Anne
14. Savannah Phillips – daughter of Peter Phillips
15. Isla Phillips – daughter of Peter Phillips
16. Zara Tindall – daughter of Princess Anne

VICTORIA, BC - SEPTEMBER 24: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge arrive at the Victoria Airport on September 24, 2016 in Victoria, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)(Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

 

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California couple tortured, burned Vietnam veteran as children watched, police say

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:09 PM

Couple Accused of Torturing, Killing Vietnam Veteran

A couple tortured a Vietnam War veteran in order to gain access to his financial and personal information and then took their children with them when they burned his body in a rural field, police said. 

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Kenneth Coyle, 70, a Vietnam War veteran and contractor at Naval Air Station Lemoore, became friends with Stacie Mendoza, a restaurant server who befriended him and later killed him with her husband, Jose Mendoza, according to Hanford police

"We think she manipulated that relationship to gain his trust and defraud him of money," Cpt. Karl Anderson, of the Hanford Police Department, said at a press conference. "As this relationship grew, we know that Ms. Mendoza started getting access to his bank account information and started getting money from him."

Police said Stacie Mendoza began defrauding Coyle a couple of weeks ago, but escalated the grift on April 5 and April 6, when she and her husband restrained Coyle to a bed and beat him in order to get his bank account information, passwords and other personal information, police said. 

Days later, the Mendozas loaded Coyle’s body into their car and burned it in a field as their children watched, police said. 

The Mendozas returned to Coyle’s house last week to steal more items and were questioned by property management employees. The employees were suspicious of the couple, who said the veteran had been injured and was recovering at a care home, investigators said. 

Police arrested Stacie and Jose Mendoza at a Denny’s restaurant near Los Angeles International Airport. Jose Mendoza had Coyle’s credit card and a ticket to El Salvador in his possession, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The couple was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They are being held without bail. Their children were put in the custody of Child Protective Services.

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Police officer takes 84-year-old man to hospital to visit sick wife

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 7:48 AM

FILE PHOTO
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A police officer in Pennsylvania has the serve portion of “to protect and serve” perfected.

Roger Baker, 84, had to get to his local hospital after his wife had a medical emergency. No friends or family could take him, so he called police for help, WHP reported.

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Deputy Chief Bentley from Montoursville Police Department responded, taking Baker to the medical facility, and escorted him to the building, WHP reported

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

In the police department’s Facebook post, which has been shared more than a thousand times, the department said that Bentley held Baker’s hand, walking him to the building until hospital workers brought a wheelchair out for Baker and took him to his wife in the emergency room.

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