Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

Michael Cohen

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen may not have recorded only one conversation with the president. "I can tell you that for a fact".

That Cohen had made 12 more recordings was revealed when the retired judge who is deciding whether USA prosecutors may review the seized material said in a Monday filing that "the parties" - presumably Trump and Cohen - no longer object to the government listening to "12 audio items".

Cohen has not yet been arrested or charged with any crime. "The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!" Nor is it clear whether Trump is on more than the one recording.

Porn actress Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti says "there's multiple tapes" of Donald Trump talking to his lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen has since become the subject of federal criminal investigation in the Southern District of NY, concerning campaign-finance violations, bank fraud, wire fraud, and illegal lobbying, or other crimes.

Giuliani said the discussion of payment did not mean McDougal's claim of an affair was true and characterised it as an attempt to resolve false allegations that were "personally damaging" to Trump.

In the recording revealed last week, Mr Trump and Mr Cohen can be heard discussing a plan to buy the rights to claims made by Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model, from American Media Inc, according to The Washington Post.

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She sold her story for $150,000 (€128,000) in August 2016 but it was never published by the National Enquirer, a practice known as "catch and kill" to prevent a potentially damaging story from becoming public.

Cohen, who became Trump's personal lawyer in 2007, paid 130,000 to Daniels - real name, Stephanie Clifford - shortly before the 2016 election to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Trump. "My wife, my daughter and my son have my first loyalty and always will", Cohen told Stephanopoulos. Since the search warrants were executed in April, lawyers for Cohen, Trump and the Trump Organization have been engaged in a laborious process of reviewing more than 4 million items seized in the raids.

During Sunday's roundtable, retired Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, an informal Trump adviser, pressed Avenatti to reveal how he knew of the existence of additional tapes, arguing that the leak of such information could represent a potential violation of lawyer-client privilege.

But a source with knowledge of the conversation noted that NY, where Cohen's talk with Trump about McDougal was made face-to-face, is a "one-party consent" state, which means that only one person in a discussion needs to know about a recording device for the taping to be legal.

"All of the information that the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized, that's not under lock and key", he said, adding: "I could have received it from Michael Cohen".

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