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Amber Jamieson @ambiej
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I’m at Michael Cohen’s hearing today to get an update on the material seized from him, how the special master is going seeing which docs are covered by attorney-client privilege AND to see if Michael Avenatti, aka Stormy Daniels lawyer, can be involved in the case. Stay tuned!
OK so the fight between Michael Avenatti and Michael Cohen’s lawyer and President Trump’s lawyer was VICIOUS. Cohen’s lawyer Steve Ryan called Avenatti’s release of Cohen’s financial info as “a premeditated drive-by shooting of my client’s rights”
“I’ve practiced law for 37 years and never risen to oppose a pro hac vice application” said Ryan (which is when a lawyer applies to be admitted in a jurisdiction they’re not licensed to practice, which is what Avenatti is trying to do in this case).
Steve Ryan, Cohen’s lawyer, called Avenatti’s recent release of bank info as “a drive by shooting of anyone named Michael Cohen” (yes he used the drive by metaphor twice within minutes) and declared it “reckless and improper”
Apologies I got distracted writing story and eating lunch but I am back to tweet all the juicy bits from this morning's Cohen hearing, which basically turned into the Avenatti hearing.
So Avenatti revealed that a journalist called him asking him for comment on tapes of a conversation b/w Cohen and Keith Davidson, Stormy Daniels' former lawyer who arranged the $130k hush deal. "A very disturbing call for me," said Avenatti.
Avenatti argues that he doesn't "believe for one moment" that the FBI or the Attorneys office would leak the recording, and therefore he reckons it had to come from Cohen or his team "to paint a false narrative about my client."
But the reason he says the recordings are relevant in this hearing — which is about determining which of the seized files from Michael Cohen's home and office are privileged — is that Cohen and Davidson discussed privileged information about Stormy Daniels.
But... Judge Kimba Wood noted that Avenatti didn't have the standing to make this argument unless and until he makes a motion to intervene.
Not long after this Cohen's lawyer Steve Ryan got up and ripped into Avenatti, noting that "This proceeding is about the keeping of confidential privileged information but it's been turned on its head by Avenatti."
"The reason I rise today is I've never seen an attorney conduct himself in the manner that Avenatti does," declared Ryan, who was clearly mad as hell.
This is when Ryan got really pissed off at Avenatti for leaking Michael Cohen's bank info lately (and bank info of other people called Michael Cohen who are not Trump's personal lawyer). He called it "intentional and malicious."
Ryan declared that the Treasury Inspector General was investigating Avenatti's actions but Avenatti said he'd heard absolutely nothing from any authority about the release of that info
But Cohen's lawyer Ryan raised a topic that was then mentioned by the judge AND Trump's lawyers: Avenatti is a shameless media attention seeker. He noted Avenatti had made over 70 appearances on TV ,"74 on CNN," said Ryan.
Judge Kimba Wood said that if Avenatti is part of the hearing then he "would have to stop doing some things you're doing." She pointed out that the lawyers were wanting him to "essentially stop in its tracks your publicity tour on TV and elsewhere" and that she agreed.
Avenatti's media tour against Cohen could be potentially damaging to a jury if he is charged "way down the road," said the judge. Basically, she told Avenatti to either move to intervene in the case — and then shut up about it publicly — OR not be involved in the case.
Trump's lawyer Joanna Hendon also jumped on Avenatti being a shameless spotlight hog, noting that there's a podium outside the court w eight microphones. "I don't think that podium is there for Michael Cohen or Steve Ryan or for me," she said.
(every time after a Cohen hearing, including today, Avenatti has stood outside and addressed the media in a press conference, the only lawyer to do so)
Another of Ryan's arguments for why Avenatti should not be permitted to appear in the matter is that his law firm, Eagan Avenatti, is currently part of a bankruptcy proceeding.

"That firm has never represented my client," said Avenatti.
Trump's lawyer Joanna Hendon was having none of that tho. She got up and started handing out documents to the judge and other attorneys present.

It was copies of emails sent by Avenatti and other lawyers for Stormy Daniels USING the Eagan Avenatti email address.
Hendon noted that the court should be wary "when someone, especially a lawyer, is prepared to not be straight-forward ... misleading on the tiniest of matters."
Very shortly after the court hearing, Avenatti withdrew his pro hac vice application 😬
And Avenatti made a statement outside of court demanding the release of the #Trumptapes because yes he made a hashtag for them
And tweeted that "this is a search for the truth."
And then Avenatti went immediately on CNN and MSNBC to demand the recordings get released (Cohen's lawyer denied leaking the recordings altho he did sort of acknowledge their existence by saying they were under "lock and key" in his office)
Oh, and Cohen's seized documents? What's the latest on those? Well, there are 3.7 million in total so far, altho a paper shredder and two Blackberrys have not yet been able to be accessed by the government.
Cohen's team have filtered through 1.4 million of them so far to help determine which are subject to attorney-client privilege (the special master appointed by the court, Barbara Jones, is also working through them)
The gov want the docs all ready by mid June. Cohen's team pleaded to have a mid July deadline as they said mid June was "unreasonable."
"We're moving heaven and earth," said Cohen's lawyer Todd Harrison, who noted that 15 attorneys plus 2 data professionals are working through the info.
Cohen's lawyer Harrison noted that one colleague had developed a HAND TREMOR yesterday as they were so tired, and Harrison sent them home to sleep and they were back at work at 7.30am this morning.
He said they were sleeping on couches in the office and worked all Memorial Day weekend (me too so no sympathy there) and that they needed more time.
Judge Wood was having none of it. She declared June 15 the deadline, said if they didn't meet it then a government taint team would go through the rest of the documents.
And that was it for today! Minus a final dig from the judge at Avenatti who said "unless you are admitted here, I don't expect you to stand and be heard."

Which I guess means no more Avenatti in future Cohen hearings, but I expect they'll still be dramatic.
You can read my full story about today's hearing here, excellently edited by @chrisgeidner:…
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