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Ex-judge Barbara Jones named special master to review docs seized from Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

Dan Mangan
AT&T says it hired Cohen to get "his opinion on the new President and his administration."

A federal judge in New York on Thursday appointed one of her former colleagues on the bench, Barbara Jones, to review documents seized from President Donald Trump's long-time lawyer Michael Cohen.

Jones will be responsible for checking those files to see which ones can be turned over to prosecutors investigating Cohen for suspected criminal conduct.

Files subject to attorney-client privilege would not be given to prosecutors.

Jones, who was a federal and state prosecutor, was appointed to the position of "special master" at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Judge Kimba Wood.

The hearing occurred several hours after Trump made several comments relating to Cohen during an interview with "Fox and Friends."

Trump said Cohen "represents me with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."

"From what I see, he did absolutely nothing wrong," Trump added.

The president also claimed that Cohen has handled only a "tiny, tiny fraction" of his overall legal work."

Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti seized on Trump's comments during an interview on MSNBC, calling them "hugely damaging" to the president's legal case involving Daniels.

Trump's statements could be damaging to him and to Cohen for several reasons.

They could cast into doubt Trump's recent claim that he had not known about Cohen's $130,000 payment to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 presidential election or the reason for the money when that payment was made.

Daniels has said that the money was given in exchange for her agreement that she not publicly discuss an alleged affair she had with Trump. The White House has said Trump did not have sex with Daniels.

Secondly, Trump's claim that Cohen did a small fraction of legal work for him could undercut Cohen's argument that thousands of files seized by FBI agents could contain material subject to attorney-client privilege.

This story is developing. Check back for updates