Judge denies lawyers’ request to privately contest seized Cohen documents

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Michael Cohen, (L) former personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump, exits the United States District Court Southern District of New York on May 30, 2018 in New York City.

(CNN) – After President Donald Trump’s lawyers sought to keep their protest over privilege in Michael Cohen’s seized documents confidential, federal Judge Kimba Wood told them they must publicly file their objections to the special master’s attorney-client privilege designations.

The only thing Trump will be able to discuss with the court confidentially will be the “substance of the contested documents,” Wood said Friday.

Several news organizations, including CNN, implored Wood to maintain “the greatest transparency possible in the these proceedings” and regarding the documents they want to keep under attorney-client privilege.

On Monday, the special master appointed to review the seized materials for items that might be protected by attorney-client privilege said a very small number fell into that category.

The special master, Barbara Jones, said 162 out of 292,409 items she reviewed are privileged. Three items she said are “highly personal.”

At a hearing last week, Cohen’s lawyers said they had reviewed about one-third of the more than 3.7 million items seized in the raid. The judge gave them until June 15 to finish reviewing documents.

The documents at the center of the issue were seized during an April raid on Cohen’s apartment, office and hotel room by the FBI. In the weeks and months since the raid, Trump’s attorneys have tried to slow the government’s review of documents.

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