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Michael Cohen Is in Prison, But the Gov’t Still Wants to Hide Parts of the Evidence That Helped Put Him There


The saga of Michael Cohen continues. The government wants previously approved redactions in Cohen’s search warrants to stay in place because the redactions protect an “ongoing investigation.”

Back in February, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III ordered certain materials sealed because those sections would reveal information related to an ongoing investigation. Pauley directed the Southern District of New York (SDNY) to provide an update on May 15 on whether the redactions are still needed. In a court filing, the government filed a sealed letter to the court requesting the redactions stay in place for at least another 60 days.

Judge Pauley has said that the continued redactions are “justified at this juncture,” given the government’s contention that this is needed to protect an ongoing probe.

Cohen admitted to doling out hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to keep affairs with Donald Trump quiet before the 2016 election. Cohen pleaded guilty to violated campaign finance laws, tax evasion and bank fraud. Cohen set up shell company Essential Consultants, LLC to help cover up the payments.

Parts of this search warrant are still redacted. There are several pages related to “The Illegal Campaign Contribution Scheme” that are completely redacted. This could mean that there is still an ongoing investigation into other payments Cohen made on behalf of Donald Trump. In February, Cohen told Congress that he was unable to provide an exact number of the women who he paid off in return for their silence on behalf of Trump.

In March, the court lifted some of the redactions from the Cohen search warrant and it revealed that the FBI had obtained search warrants for Cohen’s gmail account in the summer of 2017, almost a year before the raid on his hotel room.

Separate from the SDNY investigation, Cohen admitted that he lied to Congress about when discussions about a Trump Tower in Moscow ended. Cohen initially said that the negotiations over the project ended in January 2016; conversations about the project continued into June 2016. Cohen said that his emails to Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov were “not related in any way” to the Trump campaign.

Cohen is currently serving out a 3-year prison sentence in Otisville, New York.

[Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

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