Prosecutors have at least 12 recordings by Trump lawyer Cohen

Michael Cohen longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump leaves the United States District Court Southern District of New York

Michael Cohen longtime personal lawyer and confidante for President Donald Trump leaves the United States District Court Southern District of New York

US prosecutors probing Michael Cohen are reviewing 12 audio recordings seized in an April raid of the home, office and hotel room of President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer.

Barbara Jones, a court-appointed lawyer and former Manhattan federal judge helping to decide which of the seized files are protected by privilege, said in a court filing that prosecutors received the recordings on Friday after attorneys for Trump, Cohen and the Trump Organization dropped privilege claims.

According to the Times, the Justice Department's raid on Cohen's office was partly meant to investigate whether payments to women who said they'd had affairs with the president constituted illegal campaign contributions or violations of federal campaign finance laws.

Giuliani claimed that the tape was exculpatory for Trump. One of Trump's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani, confirmed the waiver in an interview with Reuters.

At least some of the tapes - if not all - were released after Trump's lawyers determined that they were fair game, according to a lawyer for Cohen, who blasted the move on Twitter while suggesting the tapes contain damning evidence of wrongdoing.

The judge's court filing does not specify what is on the tapes provided to the United States government, and it is not certain that Mr Trump is featured speaking in any of the other tapes provided to prosecutors.

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Cohen's house, hotel and office were raided this spring.

A retired judge who is determining which portions of the seized materials can be reviewed by prosecutors, said that "the parties" do not object to the government listening to the contents of the 12 tapes.

She wrote that she agreed that 2,633 were privileged, in full or part, but that 1,452 items were not.

Lawyers for Cohen could not immediately be reached for comment. With that, Jones released them all to prosecutors.

"On July 20, 2018, the parties withdrew their designations of "privileged" as to 12 audio items that were under consideration by the special master", Jones said.

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