Trump's personal lawyer due in NY court

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, demanded Stormy Daniels "cease and desist" after the adult-film star said in a 60 Minutes TV interview that she was threatened with violence to stay silent about an alleged affair. The judge ordered that Cohen himself be present Monday so that he could answer questions about his clients. Stormy Daniels, an adult-film actress who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, watched from the public gallery.

More: Who is Michael Cohen?

After some discussion about whether the disclosure would be in writing or in open court, Cohen attorney Stephen Ryan announced the name to audible murmurs in the packed courtroom: "The client's name is Sean Hannity". Sometimes Trump praises Hannity in return.

One of Trump's lawyers, Joanna Hendon, filed papers late Sunday asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have both had a chance to review those materials and argue which are subject to attorney-client privilege.

The Russia investigation has frustrated the White House as it has spread to enfold some of Trump's closest confidantes.

USA federal Judge Kimba Wood has ordered Cohen to attend the hearing, scheduled for 2:00 pm (1800 GMT), in what will pit a powerful USA attorney's office against lawyers for Cohen and the president. She is expected to rule later.

"I understand he doesn't want his name out there, but that's not enough under the law", she said, after hearing legal arguments from Robert Balin, a lawyer for five news organizations including The Associated Press. Prosecutors say Cohen is being investigated for an undisclosed crime related to his personal business dealings.

The raid sought information about a variety of matters, including a $130,000 payment made to Daniels, a stage name for Stephanie Clifford.

"Michael Cohen is radioactive, and anybody that was associated with him in the last 20 to 30 years should be very, very concerned", Avenatti said, before mentioning the surprise Sean Hannity revelation as a prime example of said radioactivity.

Cohen, dressed in a dark suit, at times looked tense, folding and clasping his hands in front of him.

Todd Harrison, a lawyer for Mr Cohen, said at Friday's hearing that "thousands" of documents seized were likely privileged, and that many related to clients other than Mr Trump.

Cohen's lawyers resisted revealing the name of the third client, saying it would be embarrassing and unnecessary. She says the claim is invalid.

Court papers filed by Robert Khuzami, the deputy USA attorney in Manhattan, are redacted making it unclear the alleged criminal conduct for which the 51-year-old Cohen is being investigated.

Later he added on Twitter the legal advice he got from Cohen was "almost exclusively about real estate". Agents entered Cohen's home and office and collected documents, some of which include communications between him and the president, according to multiple reports. Attorneys for Cohen suggested appointing an impartial special master to decide. "Such a rule is unworkable and ripe for abuse", wrote Robert Khuzami, deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.

After the hearing, Cohen left without comment.

Daniels had implied Mr Cohen was behind the threat of harm if she did not "leave Trump alone", which was made by a stranger in a Las Vegas parking lot in 2011.

"My attorney and I are committed that everyone finds out the truth and the facts of what happened, and I will not rest until that happens", she said.