Michael Avenatti Withdraws Bid To Appear Before Judge in Cohen Probe

Porn Star’s Attorney Avenatti Battles Wall Street Journal Report Of Stonewalling Federal Prosecutors

"As a result of our efforts, there was a shocking admission that was made in court today, namely, that just like the Nixon tapes, we now have what I will refer to as the Trump tapes", he said.

Judge Kimba Wood heard arguments from Daniels's attorney, Michael Avenatti, as well as representatives for Cohen and Trump, over whether or not Avenatti would be allowed to participate in the case.

But the lawyers were also debating whether Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for porn actress Stormy Daniels, will get a formal role in the case. The report was submitted a day before Wood was to preside over a hearing in Manhattan federal court. They're sorting what would be covered by attorney-client privilege or contained "highly personal" information, like medical records.

"It's never a good idea to be recording conversations, period, especially if you are an attorney, especially if you're dealing with sensitive information", Avenatti said.

Cohen and his attorney's "are hell bent on continuing to hide the truth from the American people", Avenatti told reporters after court.

Had his team released the audio, Ryan told the court, it would have caused a major media sensation of its own.

Avenatti did not provide any evidence during the interview to support his claims that Cohen had broken the law.

Judge Wood closed the hearing by reminding the court that the urgency to resolve the privilege issue quickly is rooted in the balance between concerns of attorney-client privilege and the need for the investigation to take its course.

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Daniels, who was not in court Wednesday, got a $130,000 payment from Cohen before the election in exchange for not speaking about an alleged sexual encounter with the president in 2006. Comparing the recordings to the infamous "Nixon tapes" that sealed President Richard Nixon's political fate, Avenatti charges that the recordings might show a conspiracy "to commit one or more potential crimes". The fallout over the payments eventually led to revelations Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payment to Daniels, something the president previously denied knowing about.

Cohen's attorneys then said they couldn't be sure if the phones belonged to Cohen's wife.

Upon leaving the courthouse in lower Manhattan, Cohen - who also has the Fox TV star Sean Hannity as a client - did not reply to a shouted question about whether he meant to cooperate with prosecutors.

Later in the proceeding, Spears & Imes partner Joanna Hendon, who leads President Donald Trump's legal team intervening in the matter, announced for the first time that the president "endorses in every way" the concerns raised by Cohen's counsel.

"That's our understanding", Avenatti replied. Avenatti's firm holds a 75 percent stake in Eagan-Avenatti while Michael Eagan holds a 25 percent stake in said firm, according to documents obtained by Finnegan.

"I was told to pull up a seat and share this table", Avenatti said with a chuckle before sitting down. These seemed to have little effect on Wood, who took aim at Avenatti's behavior. She told Avenatti he's free to continue to behave the way he has been - unless, that is, he is appearing before her. "The motion will be re-filed, if necessary, at a later time when the motion to intervene of proposed intervention Stephanie Clifford, now held in abeyance, is set for hearing". The judge ruled Wednesday that Cohen's attorneys' review of the materials must be concluded by June 15, or the remaining materials will be sent to a group of lawyers not connected to the case. He said they have reviewed about 1.3 million of the 3.7 million files turned over. He said his firm had 17 people evaluating the materials, which came from 13 mobile devices and 19 other digital-media devices. The government also said it had a shredder in its possession, but any documents produced from it would be a small amount.

"I don't know if we can make that", another Cohen lawyer, Stephen Ryan, said of the June 15 deadline. They argued they needed more time, and were working as fast as possible.

Wood said a "taint team" of prosecutors not involved in the Cohen probe would make the determinations after that date.

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