US President Donald Trump’s top lawyer is under criminal investigation, the US justice department has announced. Prosecutors say they are focusing on Michael Cohen’s business dealings rather than his work as a lawyer. Mr Cohen has been under investigation for months, the court filing says.
The filing was in response to efforts by Mr Cohen’s own lawyer to stop prosecutors reviewing material seized from Mr Cohen’s office on Monday. Mr Cohen’s team argues that the papers are covered by the attorney-client privilege. President Trump has condemned the office raid, calling it “disgraceful” and “an attack on our country”. Mr Cohen has come under increasing public scrutiny since he admitted to making a $130,000 (£92,000) payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, just days before the 2016 presidential election. Ms Daniels claims she had a sexual encounter with Mr Trump shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to their son and says she was paid to keep quiet about the affair. “Today the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Mr Cohen’s lawyer Stephen M Ryan said in a statement. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”