Michael Cohen, personal lawyer to U.S. President Donald Trump, center, exits from Federal Court in New York. (Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

U.S. Says ‘Others’ Are Under Scrutiny in Cohen Grand Jury Probe

(Bloomberg) -- The grand jury investigating President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen is also scrutinizing “others” who may not be aware of prosecutors’ interest in them, the U.S. said in a court filing.

Prosecutors made the disclosure Thursday in opposing a media request to obtain papers related to the search warrants used in the April 9 raid of Cohen’s home, hotel and business. Federal prosecutors in New York filed a public brief that doesn’t specify who is targeted in the investigation or named in the warrant papers.

“Numerous uncharged third parties” are named in the documents, the government said. Protecting their privacy interests make it impractical to release the warrant papers in redacted form, they argued.

“The disclosure would almost certainly result in a very public guessing game in which the media and members of the public attempted to guess the identities of the uncharged parties described in the materials -– particularly the campaign finance portions” of the investigation, prosecutors said in the filing.

Cohen has spent at least 50 hours meeting with investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and the New York state attorney general’s office, according to a person familiar with the matter. Those meetings were first reported by CNN.

Cohen pleaded guilty Aug. 21 to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to a financial institution and two federal campaign finance violations. Cohen pleaded guilty to his role in hush-money payments made to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump before he ran for president, to keep their stories from becoming public before the 2016 election.

Cohen is hoping to receive a recommendation of leniency from federal prosecutors to reduce his potential federal sentence, which is capped at 51 months. He’s currently scheduled for sentencing Dec. 12.

The government submitted a separate filing, for the eyes of U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley only, that “identifies specific portions of the warrant affidavits and other facts pertinent to the ongoing government investigation, as well as to the privacy interests of uncharged parties.”

A court hearing on the media’s request is scheduled for Nov. 2.

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