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?