Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have unsealed a treasure trove of the documents that led to the authorization of a raid last year in which the files and electronic devices belonging to President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen were seized.
It is what has been redacted from the documents, however, that is causing a stir among legal experts.
According to Newsweek, all of the information concerning illegal hush money payments to cover-up Trump’s illicit extra-marital affairs was blacked out in the documents released by the Justice Department, and legal analysts believe that the redactions indicate that the president and/or his immediate family are in serious trouble.
“The threat of additional indictments hitting the president’s inner family or business circle from the Southern District of New York, rather than [Robert] Mueller’s team, is real, and it is significant,” Bradley Moss, a national security lawyer, told Newsweek.
Included in the voluminous release of materials are search warrants and supporting affidavits from the FBI’s raid on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room last April. The warrants indicate that the Special Counsel’s team began scrutinizing Cohen’s emails much earlier than previously reported, starting in July 2017 only weeks after Robert Mueller’s appointment to his role in overseeing the Russian election-meddling investigation.
Moss pointed to the redactions of the material related to potential campaign finance crimes as a major indicator of what lies in Trump and his family’s future.
“Virtually all of the details on Michael Cohen’s financial crimes independent of that matter were disclosed in today’s production,” Moss said. “That there are 19 pages of substantive details outlining the conspiracy to commit at least two [if not more] campaign finance felonies in the final weeks of the 2016 election—[which] the government still needs to keep under wraps even after Cohen’s guilty plea and allocution—is bad news for President Trump and his associates.”
According to Newsweek:
“Nick Akerman, a former federal prosecutor who worked on the Watergate investigation, told Newsweek that the redactions make it clear that the probe by the Southern District feds is still continuing and that the “prime target” is likely President Trump.”
“Asked if Trump, members of his family or his business associates could wind up being indicted as a result of the investigation, Akerman said, ‘Absolutely.’ He added, ‘Because you know [Donald Trump Jr.] signed one of those checks.'”
Akerman also mentions the fact that the documents released last night only reveal what was known in the summer of 2017 and that the Justice Department Prosecutors both on Mueller’s team and in the SDNY have surely uncovered much more evidence since then.
The opinion of the legal analysts can provide hope for those seeking to ensure that any crimes committed during the 2016 election campaign are uncovered and the perpetrators brought to justice. There may just be light at the end of that tunnel looming in the distance.
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Original reporting by Alexandra Hutzler at Newsweek.