By Karen Freifeld
The legal team for Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is expected to stop representing him in the criminal investigation into his business dealings, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Cohen's lawyers Stephen Ryan and Todd Harrison of McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, a Washington and New York firm, are expected to complete a review of documents seized by federal prosecutors in an April raid on Cohen's home and office. The court has set a Friday deadline for completion of the review.
Cohen will hire other counsel once the review is complete, the person familiar with the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Cohen wants to hire a lawyer who has a relationship with the U.S. prosecutor's office in Manhattan, the source added.
Cohen did not respond to calls and texts seeking comment.
ABC News and the Wall Street Journal first reported the expected legal change.
The criminal probe into Cohen’s business dealings stems in part from a referral by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election.
Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion, and Russia has denied interference. Cohen has not been criminally charged.
Roughly 3.7 million files were seized in the Cohen raid and are being reviewed to determine which ones may be subject to attorney-client privilege. Judge Kimba Wood set a June 15 deadline for Cohen’s and Trump’s lawyers to finish their review and has appointed a special master to vet their claims of privilege.
The probe has taken a toll on Cohen, who has expressed worries about the financial burden of mounting a legal defense against federal prosecutors with extensive resources, according to a friend who spoke with Cohen in the past few days.
The friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also told Reuters that Cohen has complained that he does not feel he has received enough support from Trump in dealing with the situation.
Cohen has admitted that he made a $130,000 payment shortly before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has said that she had sex once with Trump in 2006 and was paid to keep quiet about it. Trump has said he never had an affair with Daniels.
(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)