Cohen's attorneys float names for Special Master to review seized materials

Attorneys for Michael Cohen asked a federal judge to appoint a so-called Special Master to decide which of Cohen's materials seized by federal investigators can be viewed by prosecutors, and late Tuesday gave their choices for the job.

At a hearing Monday, Judge Kimba Wood denied Cohen's request for a temporary restraining order to block the investigators from reviewing the materials seized from Cohen's temporary residence and two office spaces during a raid last week.

Wood said she was open to either a "privilege team," also known as a "filter team," or an independent reviewer known as a Special Master who would review the materials and decide which ones would violate attorney-client privilege and which ones can be handed over to potential trial prosecutors.

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The judge ordered Cohen's attorneys and the government's lawyers to recommend names to fill the role.

In a filing shortly before midnight, Cohen's attorneys provided Wood with four recommendations:

  • Bart Schwartz, former assistant U.S. Attorney for Rudy Giuliani.

  • Joan McPhee, former federal prosecutor who successfully represented a Deepwater Horizon driller against federal charges.

  • Tai Park, former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and a noted white collar defense attorney.

  • George Cannellos, former SEC Division of Enforcement co-chair and former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. Has represented several major financial institutions.

The Government needs to provide their list of four possible Special Masters and an update on the sharing of information about what they seized from Cohen by the end of the day Wednesday.

The specific focus of the investigation and possible federal crimes have not been disclosed by the U.S. attorney's office, but in a filing on Friday they do confirm Cohen is under federal criminal investigation.