Mueller investigation: Michael Cohen probe began in 2017, search warrant shows

Authorities began their probe of President Donald Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen in July 2017, just months after Trump was sworn into office, according to partially redacted documents released Tuesday by authorities.

Explore>> See what document were released Tuesday

Officials released hundreds of pages of documents Tuesday related to last year’s FBI raid of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT March 19: Documents released Tuesday showed authorities investigated Cohen for failing to register as a foreign agent and money laundering, though he was not charged with either crime.

Credit: Southern District of New York

Credit: Southern District of New York

Update 10 a.m. EDT March 19: A 20-page section of the documents related to campaign finance violations was redacted from the documents released Tuesday. Axios reported that the redaction indicated "that the Southern District of New York's investigation into hush money payments made on behalf of President Trump remains active."

Documents showed FBI investigators got a warrant in July 2017, just months after Trump’s inauguration, for one of Cohen’s email accounts. With that warrant, authorities got access to his emails dating back to January 1, 2016.

A few months later, in November 2017, authorities got a warrant for emails dating back to June 1, 2015.

Update 9:30 a.m. EDT March 19: The more than 895 pages of documents released Tuesday show authorities started collecting Cohen's emails in July 2017, nearly a year before the April 2018 raid of his home, office and hotel room, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper noted that a swath of the documents detailing alleged campaign finance violations, made in the form of payments to a pair of women who claimed to have had sexual relationships with Trump before he became president, was redacted in its entirety.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said Monday that the release of the documents furthers Cohen’s “interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress.”

Update 9 a.m. EDT March 19: The documents show the FBI was investigating Cohen, who once famously said he'd take a bullet for Trump, much earlier than previously known, according to The Associated Press.

Read the documents: 

Exhibit 1 | Exhibit 2 | Exhibit 3 | Exhibit 4 | Exhibit 5 | Exhibit 6 | Exhibit 7 | Exhibit 8

Original report: A federal judge in New York has set a Tuesday deadline for prosecutors to publicly file documents related to last year's FBI raid of the home, office and hotel room of President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

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In an order filed Monday in the Southern District of New York, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley gave prosecutors until Tuesday to file redacted copies of the documents after media outlets including The Associated Press, CNN and The New York Times requested the data be released.

>> FBI raids office of Donald Trump’s longtime attorney Michael Cohen

The information redacted from the warrant and related documents includes Cohen’s phone numbers, apartment number and safety deposit box number, Pauley said.

Monday’s order came about a month after Pauley directed authorities to submit relevant documents to the court, citing prior court rulings that found search warrants and related documents can’t be “sealed indefinitely.”

>> FBI sought records related to Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape in Cohen raid: reports

“The public interest in the underlying subject matter of the materials — which implicates the integrity of the 2016 presidential election — is substantial,” Pauley wrote in a 30-page ruling filed Feb. 7.

>> Judge approves Michael Cohen's request to delay prison term until May

Authorities seized records and electronics in April 2018 during raids of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room. He was subsequently charged with multiple crimes, including several counts of tax evasion and making false statements to Congress, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

Cohen pleaded guilty to charges last year and was sentenced to serve three years in prison. He’s scheduled to surrender to authorities May 6 to begin his sentence.

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