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A federal judge on Monday denied a request from President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen to review the documents seized from the lawyer's home and office last week before prosecutors see them, dealing a setback to Trump's legal team.
U.S. District Judge Kimbra Wood said that she had faith in the Justice Department's so-called “taint team” to isolate materials protected by attorney-client privilege, but added that she would consider allowing a neutral third party requested by Cohen to weigh in.
Also Monday, attorneys confirmed that Fox News host Sean Hannity was the third individual who received Cohen's legal help.
Cohen, who formerly worked at the Trump Organization, is under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal conduct and business dealings, including a $130,000 payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter with the married Trump in 2006.
Wood told prosecutors to put all the seized documents into a searchable database to determine which should come under review. Prosecutors said they expected to let Wood know on Wednesday how long it will take them to share the materials with Cohen's legal team. Cohen's lawyers say they will then go through the materials and share relevant information with President Trump's legal team.
Lawyers for Cohen and Trump had sought to be allowed to decide which items seized are protected by attorney-client privilege before prosecutors see them.
Daniels attended the hearing and addressed reporters after it was over.
“For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law,” Daniels said. “He has considered himself – and openly referred to himself – as Mr. Trump’s fixer. He has played by a different set of rules, or, should we say, no rules at all.
“He has never thought that the little man, or especially women – even more, women like me – mattered. That ends now,” she added. “My attorney and I are committed to making sure that everyone finds out the truth and the facts of what happened and I give my word that we will not rest until that happens.”
Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Judge Wood's decision would ensure that “no documents are spoliated, destroyed or otherwise tampered with, which is our chief concern in connection with this process.”
The hearing took a surprise turn when Judge Wood instructed Cohen's attorneys to disclose the name of a third Cohen client, apart from Trump and top GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy.
“We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael,” Hannity said on his radio show in response.
But he also said that Cohen did not formally represent him.
“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” Hannity said in a statement issued after his radio show. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”
On his Fox News show Monday, Hannity told viewers his conversations with Cohen “almost exclusively focused on real estate.”
“I've said many times on my radio show: I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate,” Hannity said. “Michael knows real estate … I have no personal interest in this legal matter. That's all there is. Nothing more.”
Lawyers for Cohen filed papers Monday saying investigators “took everything” during the raids, including more than a dozen electronic devices. They said that prosecutors had already intercepted emails from Cohen and executed the search warrants only after discovering that there were no emails between Trump and Cohen.
One of Trump's lawyers, Joanna Hendon, asked the judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have both had a chance to review those materials and argue which are subject to the “sacred” attorney-client privilege.
“The seized materials relating to the president must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the President,” Hendon wrote in court papers filed Sunday.
On Monday, Wood rejected Hendon's request for a temporary restraining order on the grounds that it was too early for such an objection.
At issue is the topic of attorney-client privilege, which the president has claimed in recent days is “dead.”
Trump, who was in Florida on Monday, said all lawyers are now “deflated and concerned” by the FBI raid on Cohen.
“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” he tweeted Sunday. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”
Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain, Jen Oliva and Shira Bush contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.
The long read: Corey Pein took his half-baked startup idea to Americas hottest billionaire factory and found a wasteland of techie hustlers and con men
The most desirable career of the 21st century, with numerous advantages over other fast-growing occupations such as hospice carer and rickshaw driver, is being a billionaire. Prior to the incorporation of US Steel in 1901, the world didnt have a single billion-dollar company, much less a billion-dollar individual. Today, more people than ever are becoming billionaires 2,000 and counting have made the great leap upward, according to the global wealth team at Forbes. And the USs hottest billionaire factory is located in the most hyped yet least understood swath of suburban sprawl in the world: Silicon Valley.
Despite what you may have heard, hard work in your chosen trade is absolutely the stupidest way to join the billionaires club. In Silicon Valley, the worlds most brilliant MBAs and IT professionals discovered a shortcutto fabulous riches. Ambitious Ivy Leaguers who once flocked to Wall Street are now packing up and heading west. The Valleys startup founders, investors, equity-holding executives and fee-taking middlemen have thrived above all. Inspired by their success, my idea was to move to Silicon Valley, pitch a startup and become obscenely rich. I left home with some homemade business cards showing my new emailaddress, firstname.lastname@example.org, and a bunchof half-baked ideas.
The first thing I needed was a place to stay. The best deal I could find on short notice was a place I called Hacker Condo. Like most Bay Area newcomers, I was relying on the short-term apartment rental app Airbnb. At $85 (59) per night, the place cost less than the marketaverage, but was still more than I could afford.On the upside, it was in what the real estate hucksters called SoMa a trendy San Francisco neighbourhood well suited to my journalistic and entrepreneurial purposes. Once a low-rent manufacturing district, the south of Market Street area had become the go-to place for startups seeking industrial-chic open-plan offices, although the poor and homeless had not yet been fully purged.
The ad for Hacker Condo stated an express preferencefor techies: We would like to welcome motivated and serious entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their network, it said. Perfect. The best part: No bunk beds. I told the hosts that I was an embryo-stage startup founder and author. The hosts didnt own the place. I looked it up: the mortgage was held by some European guy who seemed to spend most of his time surfing at a resort and dabbled in the tech business as a hobby. The legal status of this rental arrangement was, lets say, unclear.
I rang the buzzer for a unit labelled TENANT. A man answered right away. He had been waiting. After a moment, the door opened, and I met my new roommate, a gangly Kiwi. We took the elevator three floors up and entered a silent, beige-carpeted hallway. Our unit was No 16. The first thing I noticed inside was a small mountain of mens shoes. Hacker Condo was modern and more spacious than seemed possible from the outside. The unit was spread over three floors. The furniture consisted of a picnic bench and a sectional sofa spanning the width of the living room. I counted five other short-term tenants. The Kiwi told me that soon, some Norwegian guys a whole startup team would be moving in. We calculated that Hacker Condo would soon have three more guests than it had beds.
Whats the key situation? I asked.
Theres one key, the Kiwi said.
One key? I said. For everybody?
There were more tricks to learn, as a consequence of the possibly illicit nature of this type of rental arrangement and the evident stinginess of our Airbnb hosts. The Condo Hackers never came in through the front door. It was too conspicuous. I followed the Kiwi down to the ground-floor garage, then outside to the rear of the building. He showed me how to slide my hand along a grate to locate the tiny combination safe that contained the exterior door key. It was best to do this when no one was looking.
I knew not to spend too much time getting to know my flatmates, for we were all rootless high-tech transients, our relationships temporary, our status revocable.
The room I had booked was available for only two weeks. As soon as I connected to the wifi network, Iwould need to start looking for another place. My room had five beds in it. Ithought I had paid for a private space. I double-checked. The listing clearly stated no bunk beds, but down in the fine print I finally found the words shared room.
Two weeks was not enough time to find an apartment in San Francisco. Not on my budget. Rents were higher than in New York or London. One-beds were running at about $3,000 per month; studios, about $2,500; shares, $1,500; and illegal crap shares, $1,000. It was the same deal across the bay to the east in Oakland and Berkeley, as well as to the south in the Silicon suburbs of Redwood City, Palo Alto and Mountain View. Whatever I might save in rent by living on the periphery I would lose in transportation costs and time.
These hacker houses were the products of disruptive innovation in the urban property market. The city was once riddled with small apartments and single-family homes that sheltered trifling handfuls of obsolete labourers and their unproductive children, often for decades at a stretch. But the tech boom let such so-called family homes reach their full potential as investment properties. Some hacker houses were attached to startup investment incubators or shared workspaces. Others amounted to little more than flimsy bunks in a windowless room. A number of trend-savvy investors purchased or leased dozens of residential properties around the Bay Area to rent out in this fashion.
Although I envied them from my dark and squalid quarters, the San Francisco long-timers who lived in rent-controlled apartments were in situations nearly asprecarious as my own. I met a musician who lived in a$600 rent-controlled apartment in the Mission. WhenImet her, she was terrified that her landlord would evict her and sell the building so that it could be rented out at six times the price to white techie colonisers such as myself.
With landlords eager to cash in, formal evictions had increased 55% in five years. More often, though, landlords simply bullied their tenants into packing up. Tenants are getting evicted for having cups in their cupboards. The landlords say its clutter. Theyll say anything. Eventually the tenants just give up, a lawyer for a tenants rights organisation told me. His employer, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, was itself getting evicted from its offices so that the landlord could rent the space to a tech startup.
My earnings potential had plummeted when I stopped writing software and started writing for newspapers. I now looked with envy at the techies, the winners, the pioneers. They had ideas. They had momentum. Most important, they had money. Why not me?
I wasnt just changing careers and jumping on the learn to code bandwagon. I was being steadily indoctrinated in a specious ideology. As proud as I was of having learned new skills, I didnt understand that the only way to turn those skills into a livelihood was to embrace the economy of the digital world, where giant corporations wrote the rules.
My idea was to pitch a tech startup and get obscenely rich while writing a book about how to pitch a tech startup and get obscenely rich the Silicon Valley way.
To save money, I took to cooking my own meals most of the time. This was when I discovered that it was much easier to launch a tech startup if you could afford to always have food delivered and never had to deal with mundane chores such as doing laundry, washing dishes or buying groceries. As one Twitter wag observed, San Franciscos tech culture is focused on solving one problem: what is my mother no longer doing for me?
I never felt older nor crankier than when watching these digital natives stumble through the daily rituals of adulthood. One of the kids, an overachieving Ivy Leaguer whose Google internship demanded an advanced understanding of high-level mathematics, was completely baffled when it came to using a simple rice cooker. I explained the process: put in rice, add water, press the button labelled cook. He grew increasingly flustered, and I suspected he wanted me to make the rice for him. He managed to saut a boneless, skinless chicken breast, but only by following the instructions on the package to the letter.
How did it turn out? I asked.
Its terrible. Bland, he said. Im full, thats allthatmatters. I dont care how it tastes.
When I first heard about Soylent, the startup selling a gooey meal replacement beverage powder with a determinedly neutral flavour, I wondered what sort of miserable insensates would choose to subsist on such glop. Now I knew.
It may have been better for everyone when the overpaid nerds stayed home. Theyre importing children to destroy the culture, one bar owner told me.
PHILADELPHIA – Starbucks wants to add training for store managers on “unconscious bias,” CEO Kevin Johnson said Monday, as activists held more protests at a Philadelphia store where two black men were arrested after employees said they were trespassing.
Johnson, who has called the arrests “reprehensible,” arrived in Philadelphia this weekend after video of the incident gained traction online. He said he hopes to meet with the two men in the next couple of days and apologize face to face. A company spokesman said the men have agreed to a meeting with Johnson, but it was not immediately known when it would take place.
“I'd like to have a dialogue with them and the opportunity to listen to them with compassion and empathy through the experience they went through,” said Johnson, who has been CEO for about a year. Stewart Cohen, the lawyer for the two men, said he hopes “something productive for the community” can come out of such a meeting.
The incident is a major blow to Starbucks' image, since the company has promoted its coffee shops as neighborhood hangouts where anyone is welcome. After a video of the arrests spread online, the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks trended on Twitter.
And on Monday morning, about two dozen protesters took over the Philadelphia shop, chanting slogans like, “A whole lot of racism, a whole lot of crap, Starbucks coffee is anti-black.” A Starbucks regional vice president who attempted to talk to the protesters was shouted down.
“We don't want this Starbucks to make any money today. That's our goal,” said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest's organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.
Over the weekend, demonstrators called for the firing of the employee who contacted police, who arrested the men on Thursday. Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment about the employment status of the manager who called police.
Officials have said the officers were told the men had asked to use the store's restroom but were denied because they hadn't bought anything, and they refused to leave.
Video shows several police talking quietly with two black men seated at a table. After a few minutes, officers handcuff the men and lead them outside as other customers say they weren't doing anything wrong. A white man identified as real estate developer Andrew Yaffe arrives and tells the officers the two men were waiting for him. An officer says the men were not complying and were being arrested for trespassing.
“Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe says. “Does anybody else think this is ridiculous? It's absolute discrimination.”
A woman can be heard in the video saying “they didn't do anything, I saw the entire thing.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who met with Johnson on Monday, said the city will review its guidelines on how to respond to future requests for police assistance.
Police haven't announced the names of the men, who were released after the district attorney's office said there was lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.
Asked if the incident was a case of racism, Johnson responded: “Starbucks was built around the concept of a third place where we create a warm and welcoming environment for all customers. What I do know is that did not happen in this instance. And that is what we're focused on.”
Philadelphia-born comedian Kevin Hart had taken to Twitter on Monday to vent about the arrests, saying the company failed to take advantage of an opportunity to call out racial profiling. He says the employee who called police should have been fired.
On Sunday he tweeted, “Our city is shining bright like a diamond right now. Please make this situation right.”
Seattle-based Starbucks had posted a statement on Twitter over the weekend about the arrests, followed by an apology from Johnson.
“Every company makes mistakes, but great companies are the ones that learn from those mistakes and take appropriate action,” Johnson said Monday. “And that's exactly what I intend to do. We're reviewing all aspects of this.”
Pisani reported from New York.