On Friday, the New York Times reported that the FBI had possession of a recorded conversation between Donald J. Trump and his fixer, Michael Cohen, which was collected as part of the raid on Cohen’s residence and office in April. Trump is said to have responded by saying “I can’t believe Michael would do this with me!” The tape has information in it about Trump’s potential payoff of Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal. It turns out there are twelve tapes that have been released from the privilege claims of Trump and his lawyers. (We do not know how many, if any, additional tapes might be protected by the attorney-client privilege.)
Last week, Michael Avenatti asserted there were other tapes and it turns out he is correct. On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, when Avenatti stated he had knowledge of other tapes, Alan Dershowitz asserted that if Avenatti had such knowledge, there were some serious ethical issues involved.
With respect to the twelve tapes announced on Monday, the former judge, Barbara Jones, reviewing attorney-client privilege claims for the Southern District of New York announced that the parties had withdrawn privilege designations on the twelve audio files. Jones’ filing stated, “Based upon those de-designations, the special master released the 12 items to the government that day.”
The tape that was revealed on Friday is believed to be one of the dozen taped conversations that have been released. Turns out Avenatti, however he learned of the other recordings, was correct, and Dershowitz appeared to be trying to stir up controversy. What is known is that when the raid occurred, and beforehand, news reports were that Michael Cohen often taped calls and conversations, likely to protect himself in the event something were to happen to him regarding various work he performed for Trump over the years – such as an investigation into his conduct and likely indictment. It may well have been an “insurance policy” for the fixer for a situation such as he finds himself in- we will soon learn what was on these other tapes.