Donald Trump’s revenge spree against his former fixer Michael Cohen continued last month with a formal demand for Cohen to turn over all his personal devices.
Despite Cohen’s bombshell testimony in Trump’s $250 million New York bank fraud trial last month, this latest request is specific to the former president’s hush money case, in which Trump faces 34 felony counts for falsifying business records related to paying off porn star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
On October 17, Trump’s legal team filed a formal demand for Cohen to give them “all documents and communications regarding the topics below that are stored on any medium under your possession or control, including but not limited to phones (including encrypted messaging applications), tablets, computers, and hard copy,” according to documents obtained by The Daily Beast.
District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr.’s team argues that the tactic amounts to “witness intimidation,” and could result in Trump disseminating sensitive texts, photos, and documents stored on Cohen’s cell phone. They are asking the judge to intervene, the outlet reported.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and is seeking to dismiss the case outright, calling it a “discombobulated package of politically motivated charges” that interferes with his 2024 campaign to retake the White House.
Prosecutors have argued that reasoning shouldn’t hold any influence on the criminal proceedings.
“Defendant repeatedly suggests that because he is a current presidential candidate, the ordinary rules for criminal law and procedure should be applied differently here. This argument is essentially an attempt to evade criminal responsibility because [the] defendant is politically powerful,” prosecutors said on Thursday, according to ABC News.
The trial is slated to begin on March 25, though that date could be changed if it gets in the way of Trump standing trial over his involvement in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the judge.