Special masters eyed for Cohen probe all have RE fraud experience One former judge could be selected to weed through seized records to determine existence of attorney-client privilege
From left: Frank Maas, Michael Cohen, Theodore Katz and James C Francis IV (Credit: Getty Images)
Following the raid of Trump attorney Michael Cohen s hotel room on April 9, prosecutors in Manhattan have been making the case for internal control over the review of the records they seized, which were taken in connection with an investigation of Cohen and his personal business dealings.
Cohen, who joined the Trump Organization in 2006 and remained Donald Trump s personal attorney after he was elected president, has been under criminal investigation for months, the Justice Department revealed last week.
Cohen s attorneys asked Judge Kimba Wood to employ a special master to preside over the seized records and determine if their usage in the investigation would violate attorney-client privilege laws. Prosecutors have insisted that no special master is necessary, given what they see as Cohen s weak arguments that he has any real clients apart from President Trump. But in the event that Wood appoints a special master anyway, prosecutors have recommended three judges for the post, all of whom, it turns out, have experience with cases involving fraud or money laundering in real estate.
The lawyers, however, are being chosen for their expertise in electronic discovery and attorney-client privilege. They would simply make determinations as to whether certain records can be viewed and would not participate as investigators.
Frank Maas, a former federal judge in the Southern District of New York, assisted in a 2016 case brought by Preet Bharara against Rockwell Gajwani, the CEO of Manhattan real estate firm Trevi Retail, who pleaded guilty上海夜网论坛 to charges of tax evasion and embezzling $1.6 million from his real estate business. (The company is now known as Hubb NYC.)
Another recommended special master, retired federal judge James C Francis IV, assisted the bench as a magistrate judge during the 2017 prosecution of Robert Guzman, a Bronx man accused of running an apartment search scam that charged customers to view apartments but then never showed them. Francis was also involved in a $100 million Russian money laundering case in 2013 that alleged the laundering of illicit funds into American real estate via Cyprus shell companies.
The third recommended special master, former federal judge Theodore Katz, did pre-trial work on two civil cases involving some of New York real estate s biggest names. A decade ago, pre-trial, Katz supervised a $750 mill上海千花网龙凤论坛 ion lawsuit brought by investor Leslie Dick against Donald Trump, Sheldon Solow, Harry Macklowe, George Soros, Conseco, Vornado Realty Trust and other plaintiffs, accusing the latter parties of participating in a money laundering and bid-rigging scheme in their own hunts to buy the General Motors Building in Midtown. (Trump and Cons[……]