Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen splits with legal counsel in criminal investigation, reports say


Donald Trump’s personal attorney has parted with the law firm representing him in the criminal investigation of his business practices, according to multiple reports.

Attorney Michael Cohen will no longer be represented by his current law firm, sources close to the matter told ABC, signalling a change in legal strategy for Mr Trump’s attorney and personal “fixer” of more than 10 years.

It is unclear whether this means Mr Cohen will be cooperating with investigators going forward. He has yet to be contacted by prosecutors conducting the inquiry, according to the New York Times.

Mr Cohen has been represented up to his point by Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. They attorneys are currently engaged in the process of reviewing some 3.7m documents that were seized from Mr Cohen’s hotel room and office in a 9 April FBI raid.

Judge Kimba Wood has given the attorneys until 15 June to review the documents for information protected by attorney-client privilege.

A spokesperson for the US District Court of the Southern District of New York, where hearings over the investigation are taking place, told The Independent she had no knowledge of any change in counsel.

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Mr Cohen has not been charged with a crime, but he is reportedly being investigated for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to the Washington Post. He has issued few statements on the investigation, aside from telling ABC News after the raids: “I just want my stuff back.”

Mr Ryan said in a statement at the time that the raids were “unnecessary” and “wrong” because Mr Cohen had “cooperated completely with all government entities”. He did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Mr Trump has said he is confident that his attorney will not “flip” on him and start cooperating with investigators. After the FBI raids, he tweeted: “Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!”

Mr Ryan and Mr Harrison are expected to stay with Mr Cohen through the end of the week, until they wrap up their privilege review of the seized documents, according to the Times. Mr Trump and the Trump Organisation have also been granted the ability to review the documents for privileged items.

Ms Wood has appointed former federal judge Barbara Jones to conduct an impartial review of the documents as well. Ms Jones said last week that only 162 items of the 292,409 she had reviewed were privileged, calling the items in question “highly personal”.

Ms Jones has rejected three items that Mr Cohen, Mr Trump or the Trump Organisation designated as privileged, according to ABC.

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