Cohen, U.S. Weigh In on Who Should Get Peek at Trump Secrets
(Bloomberg) -- Prosecutors and lawyers for Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, proposed a total of seven people who could fill the job of a “special master” to help review documents, hard drives and cell phone data seized from him by the FBI.
In a letter to the judge on Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors said that they continue to oppose the appointment of a special master, saying that a separate team of government lawyers, unrelated to the investigation, would move faster to weed out materials before passing evidence to prosecutors.
After Cohen’s legal team proposed a list that included four former U.S. prosecutors, the government followed by proposing three ex-magistrate judges in the federal court in Manhattan. U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood will decide who will conduct the document review to determine which records are protected under the attorney-client privilege.
Here are the candidates suggested by the government:
- Frank Maas was a federal magistrate judge in New York, a federal prosecutor and private law firm partner. He now works as a private arbitrator for JAMS, a mediation firm. He’s an expert in electronic evidence issues. He supervised pretrial matters in a sprawling litigation over loss of life and property from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
- James Francis was a magistrate in New York for 30 years before retiring last year. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Yale University. Francis signed the search warrant for emails on a Microsoft server in Ireland that turned into a Supreme Court case argued this term on the question of whether a decades-old law lets government investigators get digital information stored on overseas servers. The court on Tuesday dropped the case after a new federal law made the case moot.
- Theodore Katz supervised settlement conferences in more than 2,500 cases during 21 years as a federal magistrate in New York. Katz, a graduate of Brandeis University and Columbia Law School, works as a JAMs arbitrator. While on the bench he played a role in the cases of Frank Quattrone, the former Credit Suisse executive who was cleared after his conviction for obstructing justice was thrown out on appeal, and Raj Rajaratnam, the Galleon Group hedge fund co-founder who’s serving an 11-year prison sentence for insider trading.
Here are the candidates suggested by Cohen’s side:
- Bart Schwartz, the chairman of Guidepost Solutions LLC, has served as an independent monitor overseeing compliance by General Motors with an agreement to recall defective ignition switches and as consultant to Point72 Asset Management on insider-trading compliance procedures. Schwartz was head of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney’s office under Rudolph Giuliani and formed a joint venture in 2013 with the former New York mayor and Trump confidante to provide security services.
- Joan McPhee, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan, has represented companies and individuals in white-collar criminal investigations and enforcement matters for two decades. McPhee was tapped by the U.S. Olympic Committee in February as co-leader of an investigation into the decades-long abuse of young gymnasts by former team doctor Larry Nasser.
- Tai Park, a former federal prosecutor in New York, has spent 17 years representing clients in criminal and regulatory matters, including in the hedge fund, banking and real estate industries. Park represented billionaire Chinese developer Ng Lap Seng, who was convicted on bribery charges last year in the biggest UN corruption scandal since the oil-for-food scandal in the early 2000s.
- George Canellos is a former U.S. prosecutor and co-director of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission who represents corporations and people in white-collar investigations. For part of his time at the SEC, Canellos served under Robert Khuzami, now the No. 2 federal prosecutor in Manhattan. Khuzami took charge of the Cohen investigation because Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman recused himself.
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