The FBI on Monday raided the office of President Trump‘s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and seized emails, tax documents and records related to his payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.
The New York Times reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained a search warrant after receiving a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, but the raid does not appear to be directly connected to Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The seized documents also include business records and communications between Cohen and Trump. According to the Times, the payment to Daniels is just one of “many topics” being looked at by the FBI.
Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, told the Times the search was “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.”
Among the documents agents seized are those related to Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels as part of a nondisclosure agreement related to her alleged 2006 affair with Trump.
The payment went through just days before the 2016 election. Cohen has admitted to paying Daniels, but denied it violated campaign finance laws.
Last week, Trump denied knowing about the payment. It was the first time he had addressed the issue publicly.
“You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” Trump said. “Michael is my attorney. You’ll have to ask Michael.”
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, filed a lawsuit last month claiming that a nondisclosure agreement she signed regarding the alleged affair is invalid because Trump never signed it. Her lawyer on Sunday filed a renewed motion to depose Trump and Cohen over the payment.
Cohen, who has been Trump’s attorney for years, has previously been of interest in some aspects of the special counsel’s probe.
Mueller reportedly sought documents and spoke to witnesses about Cohen’s involvement in negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen was reportedly in contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman about moving forward on the project, but did not receive a response.
Negotiations about the property fell apart in early 2016.
Updated at 4:26 p.m.