Attorney-client Privileged Communications

The DOJ Southern District of New York got the FBI to raid attorney Michael Cohen’s office and home to seize evidence in a case involving Donald J. Trump.  They compelled Cohen to answer questions about Trump’s affairs.  They rationalized this violation of attorney-client privilege as allowed under law because they were investigating an alleged fraud in which they believed the lawyer conspired with the client to commit a crime.  In that case the crime was a tenuous predicate, since they were guessing without other evidence that the hush money paid to the porn star somehow violated federal election and campaign funding law.

Months later, Michael Cohen rolled out a tell-all memoir that purports to dish dirt on the client.

I am wondering if Michael Cohen is violating the law with his book.  Doesn’t lawyer-client privilege go both ways?  The Department of Justice may be able to rationalize forcing the lawyer to reveal secrets, but how does the lawyer get to unilaterally reveal secrets to embarrass his client?

DOJ has a long-winded procedure for search of an attorney’s office, with details about protecting documents that don’t have anything to do with the matters covered by the warrant.   So it is clear that, once breaching the privileged communications, there are still remaining protections for other communications.

DOJ had petitioned a court to block publication of M. Cohen’s book.  I did not follow the proceedings, but somehow that got dropped.

But doesn’t this publication leave M. Cohen open to a lawsuit by client Trump?

Or, at the minimum, an ethics complaint?

What gives?

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17 thoughts on “Attorney-client Privileged Communications”

  1. At least the title of the book is semi-honest.

    “I know where the skeletons are buried because I was the one who buried them,” Cohen wrote in the foreword, which was published Thursday on a website for his tell-all book “Disloyal: A Memoir. The true story of the former personal attorney to President Donald J. Trump.”

    Here are the search procedures I referenced:

    https://www.justice.gov/jm/jm-9-13000-obtaining-evidence#9-13.420

    Here is the Associated Press article as it appeared in the Chicago Tribune:

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-nw-michael-cohen-trump-book-20200906-tujtk2nc6nb6pewnziqmo7zqeq-story.html

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  2. The raison d’être of the SDNY is the criminalization of political differences, especially those of Donald Trump. No one and I mean no one today can survive a federal criminal investigation, since all of life has actually been criminalized. It is merely a matter of “prosecutorial discretion” as to whom the law is applied by way of indictment. That, by the way, is the nefarious reason Soros has concentrated his political spending on purchasing prosecutors. This is entirely consistent with the left’s overarching desire to turn the US into what they – in their arrogance – are certain will be a more perfect Union of Socialist Republics. Even that will be RINO = republics in name only. They will be run by slightly more polished versions of warlords. When BLM leaders brag about being “trained” Marxists, we may safely infer their “training” was styled after those in Mogadishu. Those not simply executed for political differences  deviation from the party line can expect Soviet-style “psychiatric” hospitals or gulags, american (sic) style.

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  3. After you sign a contract that forbids you from replying to external deadly force with deadly force of your own origin, you have signed away all rights under law.

    President Lyndon Bains “Landslide Lyndon” Johnson, “The Great Society.”  America was suffocated, the public exchequer was gutted, administrations of justice were wholly politicized. Then, positive exponential feedback

    1) Privacy : the National Data Bank. Privacy is prosecutable.

    2) Civil rights: Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965, Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, The Civil Rights Act of 1968. Coloured US residents are above the law and have no voter restrictions.

    3) War On Poverty: Economic Opportunity Act of 1964,Office of Economic Opportunity. $Trillions/year given away. Job Corps, Neighborhood Youth Corps, Upward Bound, Food Stamp Act of 1964, Community Action Programs/l Community Action Agency, Project Head Start, Higher Education Act of 1965. All Standards of performance are abolished. The very worst are freely given the very best. The very best must be ended.

    4) Medicaid. Only decent citizens pay for medical care.

    5) Welfare.  Guaranteed minimum income for the very worst.

    6) National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. Be supported for having a big enough slobbering mouth. We still do not know if Hester Prynne got the Scarlet Letter because it was the highest grade awarded.

    7) The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ministry of Truth.

    8) John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Art.  Payoff for Houston assassination re Kopechne later “now shut up.”

    9) Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden . Sovietization of debased art.

    10) The Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, Urban Mass Transit Administration. High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965. National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 enforcing Islamist Ralph Nader.

    11) Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965, Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. HEW and the FTC broadened powers.

    12) Child Safety Act of 1966, Flammable Fabrics Act of 1967. Wholesome Meat Act of 1967. Truth-in-Lending Act of 1968. The Wholesome Poultry Products Act of 1968, Land Sales Disclosure Act of 1968, Radiation Safety Act of 1968.

    13) The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, Demonstration Cities Act of 1965

    14) Service Contract Act of 1965, Fair Labor Standards Act.

    EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE IS PROSECUTABLE.

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  4. I always thought you could never reveal anything about what clients told you they have already done.  You CAN, and as I recall  should,  reveal even confidences in order to prevent a future crime the client is plotting.  Also the client waives the privilege if the client accuses the attorney of improper conduct.  If you violate these ethics rules, your state’s Supreme Court has exclusive authority to discipline you, with the worst possible Sanction being disbarment.  So, um, I don’t think Cohen has much to lose at this point.
    And maybe our profession doesn’t either.  I was horrified when the prosecutors seized his records, and even more horrified when he started trying, rather unsuccessfully, to betray Trump his client.

    Okay, okay, I know lawyers were never the darlings of the public at large, but still, I think people believed that if you retained one, he or she was now YOUR sword, and would never be turned back upon you.  Oh yeah they stir up lawsuits, complicate people’s lives—but there are times when you, yourself, might want to sue the pants off somebody, you might want  to make somebody’s life miserable.

    “A Higher Loyalty”?  Lawyers weren’t supposed  to  have one  Higher than to our clients.

    The medical profession was undermined, knocked off its (well-deserved) “pedestal” a few decades ago.  Now it’s law’s turn.  Because you don’t want any professional cliques or “castes” in a communist poo-topia.

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  5. Is this topic getting any chatter in legal circles?  Are the law journals running editorials about this breach?

    Or is the legal profession at large content to shred their own standards of conduct in order to facilitate a hit on President Trump ?

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  6. Hypatia:
    I always thought you could never reveal anything about what clients told you they have already done.  You CAN, and as I recall  should,  reveal even confidences in order to prevent a future crime the client is plotting.  Also the client waives the privilege if the client accuses the attorney of improper conduct.  If you violate these ethics rules, your state’s Supreme Court has exclusive authority to discipline you, with the worst possible Sanction being disbarment.  So, um, I don’t think Cohen has much to lose at this point.
    And maybe our profession doesn’t either.  I was horrified when the prosecutors seized his records, and even more horrified when he started trying, rather unsuccessfully, to betray Trump his client.

    Okay, okay, I know lawyers were never the darlings of the public at large, but still, I think people believed that if you retained one, he or she was now YOUR sword, and would never be turned back upon you.  Oh yeah they stir up lawsuits, complicate people’s lives—but there are times when you, yourself, might want to sue the pants off somebody, you might want  to make somebody’s life miserable.

    “A Higher Loyalty”?  Lawyers weren’t supposed  to  have one  Higher than to our clients.

    The medical profession was undermined, knocked off its (well-deserved) “pedestal” a few decades ago.  Now it’s law’s turn.  Because you don’t want any professional cliques or “castes” in a communist poo-topia.

    That was always the thing about lawyers.  There is no duty to the public at large, just a duty to the interests of the client.

    This seems to me to be a fundamental shift that is going on unnoticed and un-remarked-on.

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  7. MJBubba:
    Is this topic getting any chatter in legal circles?  Are the law journals running editorials about this breach?

    The effective consensus in the legal field is that non-leftists are not entitled to counsel and that it is the duty of all lawyers to actively prevent any other lawyer from providing counsel to the non-leftist.

    Or is the legal profession at large content to shred their own standards of conduct in order to facilitate a hit on President Trump ?

    The standards will be shredded to attack any non-leftist.

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  8. MJBubba:

    Hypatia:
    I always thought you could never reveal anything about what clients told you they have already done.  You CAN, and as I recall  should,  reveal even confidences in order to prevent a future crime the client is plotting.  Also the client waives the privilege if the client accuses the attorney of improper conduct.  If you violate these ethics rules, your state’s Supreme Court has exclusive authority to discipline you, with the worst possible Sanction being disbarment.  So, um, I don’t think Cohen has much to lose at this point.
    And maybe our profession doesn’t either.  I was horrified when the prosecutors seized his records, and even more horrified when he started trying, rather unsuccessfully, to betray Trump his client.

    Okay, okay, I know lawyers were never the darlings of the public at large, but still, I think people believed that if you retained one, he or she was now YOUR sword, and would never be turned back upon you.  Oh yeah they stir up lawsuits, complicate people’s lives—but there are times when you, yourself, might want to sue the pants off somebody, you might want  to make somebody’s life miserable.

    “A Higher Loyalty”?  Lawyers weren’t supposed  to  have one  Higher than to our clients.

    The medical profession was undermined, knocked off its (well-deserved) “pedestal” a few decades ago.  Now it’s law’s turn.  Because you don’t want any professional cliques or “castes” in a communist poo-topia.

    That was always the thing about lawyers.  There is no duty to the public at large, just a duty to the interests of the client.

    The  public-at-large has its OWN counsel!
    plus there are times when attorneys bring class action suits representing the public,  or such subset of it Aggrieved by some product or practice.  You’re welcome.
    But  at my law school we were taught we are officers of the court;  in  fact I remember one of my profs saying we really should think of ourselves as”officers of the law”, and it was too bad cops had preempted that.    An attorney does have a duty of candor toward the tribunal.  Which as CTLaw points out, was well and truly violated in connection with the FISA warrants.

    This seems to me to be a fundamental shift that is going on unnoticed and un-remarked-on.

    Not sure which way you think things are shifting’…..if away from the sacred trust of the atty-client relationship, I agree.

    Law will never regain its dignity as a profession, I’m very much afraid. And as I said above,that’s all Part of the plan.  Vox Poopuli….

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  9. MJBubba:
    Is this topic getting any chatter in legal circles?  Are the law journals running editorials about this breach?

    Or is the legal profession at large content to shred their own standards of conduct in order to facilitate a hit on President Trump ?

    Bwahahahahahhaaa!!!!! The legal profession is comprised by and large by the very people who cheer this crap on! When the SDNY makes one of their lawfare moves the ABA waves their Pom-poms like one Mike’s Tech girls after a Michael Crabtree touchdown. They are not only content, they view this as justice done and justice served.

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  10. ctlaw:

    MJBubba:
    Is this topic getting any chatter in legal circles?  Are the law journals running editorials about this breach?

    The effective consensus in the legal field is that non-leftists are not entitled to counsel and that it is the duty of all lawyers to actively prevent any other lawyer from providing counsel to the non-leftist.

    Or is the legal profession at large content to shred their own standards of conduct in order to facilitate a hit on President Trump ?

    The standards will be shredded to attack any non-leftist.

    No the standard is to DESTROY a non-leftist.

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  11. So, if I do need a lawyer, is there a directory of dissident/conservative lawyers ?

    I suppose I should just look for the ones that advertise in local Christian publications ?

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  12. MJBubba:
    So, if I do need a lawyer, is there a directory of dissident/conservative lawyers ?

    I suppose I should just look for the ones that advertise in local Christian publications ?

    If you are trying to resolve a mundane legal issue, lawyers of any stripe will help you because they want the money and they want the “win.” If you are a known political figure, you will need to find one who you know to be sympathetic to your views. If the issue is of a political nature, you need one who is fully on your side. Good lawyers can be found, but they are thin in numbers compared to the rest.

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  13. Robert A. McReynolds:
    If the issue is of a political nature, you need one who is fully on your side.

    Find out whether your prospective attorney plays golf. If so, it is likely he will tank your case in order to remain in good standing at the club.

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  14. ctlaw:

    Robert A. McReynolds:
    If the issue is of a political nature, you need one who is fully on your side.

    Find out whether your prospective attorney plays golf. If so, it is likely he will tank your case in order to remain in good standing at the club.

    Yes any memberships of prestige will likely take priority over any advocacy for a “deplorable “ client.

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  15. Robert A. McReynolds:

    MJBubba:
    Is this topic getting any chatter in legal circles?  Are the law journals running editorials about this breach?

    Or is the legal profession at large content to shred their own standards of conduct in order to facilitate a hit on President Trump ?

    Bwahahahahahhaaa!!!!! The legal profession is comprised by and large by the very people who cheer this crap on! When the SDNY makes one of their lawfare moves the ABA waves their Pom-poms like one Mike’s Tech girls after a Michael Crabtree touchdown. They are not only content, they view this as justice done and justice served.

    Yeah, I see that the fresh young lawyers are being trained to advance the Resistance!.

    Welcome to Uprising 13/13

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