President Donald Trump should be “utterly terrified” by newly released documents used in obtaining search warrants for his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, according to legal experts.
A 19-page section related to an “illegal campaign contribution scheme” is entirely redacted, CNBC reported on Tuesday, and experts believe it indicates the president’s involvement in the alleged crime.
The pages-long blacked out section is among hundreds of pages of search warrant documents released to the public by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York — search warrants that were used to conduct the FBI raid on Cohen’s home and office last year.
The former Trump attorney and “fixer” later pleaded guilty to paying off two women in 2016 who claimed they had affairs with the president more than a decade ago, one of whom was adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
During his congressional testimony last month, Cohen said Trump, then a presidential candidate, “asked me to pay off an adult film star with whom he had an affair, and to lie to his wife about it, which I did.”
Cohen provided Congress with copies of personal checks signed by the president that he said were part of the reimbursement for paying Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about the alleged affair.
National security lawyer Bradley Moss tweeted on Tuesday that Trump should be worried about the recent release of documents, writing, “Donald Trump should be utterly terrified that there are 19 pages of completely redacted material from the first Cohen search warrant that exclusively concern "the illegal campaign contribution scheme”.
Former U.S. attorney David Weinstein told CNBC the redactions could be due to federal prosecutors belief that “it relates to someone [who] has not been formally charged in an indictment,” or because they did not want to reveal law enforcement techniques.
Regardless, Weinstein said “his sole conclusion from the 19-page redaction is ‘that what’s in there are direct references’ to ‘then-candidate Trump.’”