The US government has been secretly reading Michael Cohen's emails

Trump lawyer Michael Cohen under criminal investigation

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's NY office and home this week, partly based on a referral from Mueller.

Federal prosecutors asked a U.S. District Court judge to deny a request from President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, that would allow him initial access to documents obtained during FBI raids of Cohen's property.

"Because the facts underlying this action and the criminal investigation related to Mr. [Michael] Cohen overlap, Mr. Cohen's Fifth Amendment rights may be adversely impacted if this case proceeds", lawyers for Cohen and Trump argued in court regarding Cohen's right against self-incrimination.

Mr Cohen called on the USA district court in Manhattan to prohibit the use of tapes and documents that the Federal Bureau of Investigation collected during a raid on his NY office and residence on Monday.

The filing contains the first details released by the Justice Department on the searches, which covered Cohen's residence, hotel room, office, safety deposit boxes and electronic devices.

That trip, alleged in the controversial Christopher Steele dossier - you know, the pee tape one - was supposedly arranged for Cohen to meet with an ally of Vladimir Putin.

The wide-ranging criminal investigation into Michael Cohen is said to have left President Donald Trump more rattled than the Russian Federation investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Attorneys for Cohen have requested to have the entire proceedings sealed and kept private.

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According to The Washington Post, Cohen may be under examination for possible bank fraud and for campaign finance violations.

Searching a law office is one of the most sensitive - and most heavily reviewed - activities the Justice Department conducts. If Trump says he *didn't* know about it and had nothing to do with it, it raises an obvious question: Does that mean Cohen wasn't acting as his lawyer on the deal?

"Although Cohen is an attorney, he also has several other business interests and sources of income".

In a court filing on Friday, federal prosecutors also confirmed that Cohen has been under criminal investigation for months, largely over his business dealings rather than his legal work.

On Monday, Cohen's attorney called the searches "completely inappropriate and unnecessary". Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti spoke outside of court. Cohen served for more than a decade as a trusted fixer and, during the campaign, helped tamp down brewing scandals about women who claimed to have carried on affairs with Trump.

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she was paid US$130,000 by Cohen to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump, and is fighting to lift the terms of the non-disclosure act, which she says was signed by Cohen but not by Trump.

The raid on Cohen's home and office came as special counsel Robert Mueller's probe intensifies its focus on the president's inner circle.

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