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Trump, Michael Cohen case lawyers told to be ready to review privilege claims

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood also wants an update on the delivery of seized evidence to Cohen's lawyers.

Lawyers for Michael Cohen, shown at court on

Lawyers for Michael Cohen, shown at court on April 16, will have to address the process by which a special master would review evidence at a hearing Thursday. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Yana Paskova

The Manhattan federal judge overseeing attorney-client privilege claims by President Donald Trump over documents seized from his personal attorney Michael Cohen has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on procedures a special master would use to review the claims.

U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood, who had previously scheduled the next hearing in the case for May 24, said in an order that she also wanted an update on the delivery of copies of seized documents from the government to lawyers for Cohen.

Wood has not yet ruled on whether she will appoint a special master to take over from a team of prosecutors walled-off from the investigation of Cohen the review of attorney-client privilege claims, but has received suggestions from the government and Cohen’s lawyers of individuals who might serve.

The office and home of Cohen, who paid porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her from talking about an alleged affair with Trump, were raided and electronic devices and computers seized two weeks ago. Prosecutors say they have been looking at evidence of fraud in his personal business affairs for months.

Wood said in her Wednesday morning order, “Counsel should be prepared to address the process to be undertaken by a Special Master, should one be appointed, to review claims of privilege.”

In previous hearings, Wood has said it might create a “perception of fairness” to have a neutral special master reviewing materials involving Trump instead of the government, but expressed concern that it might delay prosecutors’ ability to begin reviewing the materials.

Wednesday’s order also said she wanted information on the “resources” Cohen’s and Trump’s legal teams might be able to bring to bear for the “expeditious production of non-privileged materials; the review of potentially privileged materials” and to provide a special master “with any necessary information to make timely and accurate determinations as to privilege.”

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