Judge orders release of docs tied to Cohen's hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels

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By Tom Winter and Rich Schapiro  with NBC News Politics
Michael Cohen testifies before a House Committee on Oversight and Reform he
Michael Cohen testifies before a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 27, 2019.   -   Copyright  Carlos Barria Reuters file

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered prosecutors to release the unredacted search warrants related to Michael Cohen's campaign finance case now that the investigation has concluded.

Cohen, President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer, is serving a three-year prison sentence for a slew of crimes, including breaking campaign finance laws by hiding payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Trump.

"The campaign finance violations discussed in the materials are a matter of national importance," Judge William Pauley III said in court papers, denying the government's request for limited redactions. "Now that the government's investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the materials."

Pauley ordered prosecutors in the Southern District of New York to release the materials by 11 a.m. Thursday.

Last August, Cohen admitted to making illegal payments to two women, identified as porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, at Trump's behest to silence them ahead of the 2016 election.

Trump has denied the affairs.