A federal judge in New York acknowledged in a court filing Thursday that “aspects” of a federal investigation involving Michael Cohen “remain ongoing” nearly two months after the President’s former fixer was sentenced to three years in prison.
The judge make it clear that there are other subjects of the ongoing investigation beyond Cohen.
The revelation came as part of a ruling issued by Judge William Pauley partially granting a request from various media organizations, including CNN, to unseal documents pertaining to the April 9, 2018, raid of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room.
Pauley ordered the government to submit redacted search warrant material pertaining to the raid, saying that the redactions are necessary in part because “aspects” of the Cohen investigation continue.
“This court concludes that disclosure of the materials with redactions strikes an appropriate balance between the strong presumption of public access to search warrant materials and the countervailing interests identified by the Government,” Pauley wrote. “In particular, the government represents that aspects of its investigation remain ongoing, including those pertaining to or arising from Cohen’s campaign finance crimes.”
Pauley gave hints about what’s going on behind the scenes, as reason that all of Cohen’s warrants can’t be made public yet.
“At this stage, wholesale disclosure of the materials would reveal the scope and direction of the government’s ongoing investigation,” Pauley wrote. “It would also unveil subjects of the investigation and the potential conduct under scrutiny, the full volume and nature of the evidence gathered thus far, and the sources of information provided to the government.”
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York had previously revealed an “ongoing” grand jury investigation related to the Cohen case as part of their effort to keep the search warrant material in the case sealed.
Prosecutors told the judge in secret that some of the individuals who are mentioned in the materials are cooperating witnesses, while others are subjects of the investigation.
“Indeed, the search warrant applications and affidavits catalogue an assortment of uncharged individuals and detail their involvement in communications and transactions connected to the campaign finance charges to which Cohen pled guilty,” Pauley wrote.
Pauley asked prosecutors to submit a sealed copy of the materials by February 28 with their proposed redactions. The court will then review the documents and direct the government to file the redacted materials in a public court docket.
The judge also directed prosecutors to submit a status report — under seal — by May 15 that would identify “the individuals or entities who are subject to on-going investigations” and explain the need for any continued redactions at that time.
Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison by Pauley in December for crimes that included arranging payments during the 2016 election to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump. He is currently scheduled to report to prison on March 6.
Clarification: The headline has been updated to reflect that prosecutors are investigating crimes related to Cohen, not necessarily Cohen himself.