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Documents relating to Michael Cohen search warrant released

Posted at 11:50 AM, Jul 18, 2019

The full search warrant and related materials for Michael Cohen were released Thursday in a court filing in federal court in Manhattan.

A redacted version of the document was released in March -- the new filing contains unredacted portions including those related to campaign finance.

They were made public after Judge William Pauley ruled that "the campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance."

Pauley ordered those sections to be unredacted after prosecutors informed the judge that they had "concluded" their investigation into the Trump Organization relating to Cohen's campaign finance violations.

"The weighty public ramifications of the conduct described in the campaign finance portions warrant disclosure," Pauley said.

A number of news organizations, including CNN, had asked to unseal copies of the search warrants and affidavits relating to the April 2018 raids on Cohen's hotel room, home and office.

In March, the judge ordered prosecutors to release the search warrants materials but allowed them to keep the sections relating to campaign finance under seal because of an ongoing investigation.

Of the nearly 900 pages relating to the search warrants that were released, there were redactions spanning over 20 pages under the heading "illegal campaign contribution scheme." Some of the pages contain duplications.

Last year, Cohen pleaded guilty to nine federal charges including tax fraud, lying to Congress and two campaign finance violations for facilitating hush money payments to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, two women who alleged affairs with Donald Trump a decade ago. Trump has denied the affairs.

When Cohen pleaded guilty, he implicated Trump, saying he facilitated the payments "in coordination with and at the direction of" a presidential candidate. He later identified Trump by name in testimony before Congress. Prosecutors identified the person as "Individual 1" in court filings who they said had "become the President of the United States." Cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence.

Trump's name has not been explicitly stated by prosecutors in any court filings related to Cohen's campaign finance case.

On Thursday, the entire record will be released with minimal redactions for "limited references" to an uncharged third party, the names of government investigators, and some individuals who discussed business transactions with Cohen.

The conclusion of federal prosecutors' investigation of the Trump company's role in the Cohen matter marks a significant victory for the President's family business. An attorney for the company declined to comment.

A lawyer for Trump, Jay Sekulow, said: "We are pleased that the investigation surrounding these ridiculous campaign finance allegations is now closed. We have maintained from the outset that the President never engaged in any campaign finance violation."

This story is breaking and will be updated.