Prosecutors revealed the new details about the Cohen investigation after his lawyer appeared in court seeking to temporarily bar prosecutors from reviewing materials that FBI agents seized in a search this week of Cohen's office, home and hotel room.
Todd Harrison, an attorney for Cohen, urged the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to let either Cohen's lawyers or a court-appointed special master review the materials seized by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.
Cohen has not yet been charged with any crimes, but at this point it's a foregone conclusion. Sad!
Federal investigators confirmed on Friday that Cohen is indeed under criminal investigation.
Under US law, communications between attorneys and their clients are privileged and must remain confidential, but judges can grant exceptions in cases involving criminal wrongdoing.
The prosecutors noted Cohen had personally not turned over any documents to Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation.
Cohen had already notified US District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday that he meant to request a stay in Daniels' lawsuit against him and Trump "on the grounds that an ongoing criminal investigation overlaps with the facts of this case".
"Defendants will be substantially prejudiced if compelled to proceed with this case while the criminal investigation related to Mr. Cohen is ongoing, given the substantial overlap between the facts in this action and the criminal investigation, and Mr. Cohen's status as is a key witness." states the filing by attorneys Brent Blakely and Charles Harder.
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Sources say Cohen was known to record conversations with reporters so he could show them to Trump in order to deal with reporters on certain stories.
The claims came after Cohen's own attorney challenged the seizure of the documents, which include records relating to Cohen's payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels. Sources told ABC News that investigators were also searching for records of any discussions Cohen held about the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape released in October 2016 in which Trump can be heard bragging to host Billy Bush in 2005 that "when you're a star" women let men "do anything", including "grab them by the p--".
At a hearing on Friday, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood told an attorney for Michael Cohen that his client needed to be there to help answer questions about his law practice.
President Trump's advisers have concluded that a wide-ranging corruption investigation into his personal lawyer poses a greater and more imminent threat to the president than even the special counsel's investigation, according to several people close to Mr. Trump.
And the NY search warrant makes clear that the authorities are interested in his unofficial role in the campaign. The hearing was set for Monday afternoon.
On Monday, Cohen's attorney called the searches "completely inappropriate and unnecessary".
But Cohen has presented no evidence that he was in Los Angeles at the time in question, and his claim that he's "never been to Prague" directly contradicts his previous public statements.
Avenatti spoke outside the court at Friday's hearing and then followed with a suggestive tweet that "the weather forecast for Monday looks very Stormy".