The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday raided the offices and home of U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, law enforcement sources said, in a dramatic new development in a series of probes involving close Trump associates.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen M. Ryan, said that U.S. prosecutors conducted a search that was partly a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
Mueller is investigating whether members of Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia during the U.S. presidential election. Trump has called the probe a “witch hunt” and denied any collusion.
“Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Ryan said in a statement.
“I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller,” Ryan said.
Monday’s raids were first reported by The New York Times.
Cohen has been at the center of a controversy surrounding a payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has alleged that she had sex once in 2006 with Trump and was paid money shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about it.
Cohen did not immediately respond to Reuters for a request for comment. A spokesman for Mueller had no comment.
A source familiar with the investigation said that among the items the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan sought in the raids were information on the origins of a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
Cohen has said that he paid the $130,000 settlement money from his own pocket through a personal home equity loan. Trump, in comments to reporters on Air Force One last week, said that he did not know about the payment.