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[Michael Cohen thread] SDNY cases against Cohen, Stormy Daniels case, bribes through Cohen

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Posts

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Really, this is just more frustration for me, because it's yet one more name to add to the huge pile of "waiting to find out what crimes he's committed" associated with the investigation.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Sleep wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Butters wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    How is "I may have thrown him 10 bucks or something now and then so that there would be attorney/client privilege" the third iteration of Hannity's lie and also the least believable. Handing a lawyer $10 seems like a super weird thing to do, and not something you would randomly forget if you did it or not. It's infinitely more likely that he never hired Cohen or he totally hired and paid Cohen and he want's to hide it. Trying to say that he may have informally hired a lawyer with a $10 bill, but he doesn't remember if he did it or not is laughable.

    Or am I wrong here? Is handing lawyer friend small bills to get attorney client privilege something people do?

    No, it's ridiculous

    Is it even a "you have to tell me you're a cop" common misconception or is this totally out of left field?

    It's stupid because you don't need to exchange money for your conversation to be considered privileged

    Isn't there like a type of work one does as a lawyer which involves, specifically, not ever charging the client anything?

    A couple, iirc. Pro bono work is basically charity - a lawyer takes a case with no expectation of being paid, as a public service. Contingency would be their payment is a portion of the judgement.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Butters wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    How is "I may have thrown him 10 bucks or something now and then so that there would be attorney/client privilege" the third iteration of Hannity's lie and also the least believable. Handing a lawyer $10 seems like a super weird thing to do, and not something you would randomly forget if you did it or not. It's infinitely more likely that he never hired Cohen or he totally hired and paid Cohen and he want's to hide it. Trying to say that he may have informally hired a lawyer with a $10 bill, but he doesn't remember if he did it or not is laughable.

    Or am I wrong here? Is handing lawyer friend small bills to get attorney client privilege something people do?

    No, it's ridiculous

    Is it even a "you have to tell me you're a cop" common misconception or is this totally out of left field?

    It's stupid because you don't need to exchange money for your conversation to be considered privileged

    Yeah but does Cohen know that?

  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Butters wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Smurph wrote: »
    How is "I may have thrown him 10 bucks or something now and then so that there would be attorney/client privilege" the third iteration of Hannity's lie and also the least believable. Handing a lawyer $10 seems like a super weird thing to do, and not something you would randomly forget if you did it or not. It's infinitely more likely that he never hired Cohen or he totally hired and paid Cohen and he want's to hide it. Trying to say that he may have informally hired a lawyer with a $10 bill, but he doesn't remember if he did it or not is laughable.

    Or am I wrong here? Is handing lawyer friend small bills to get attorney client privilege something people do?

    No, it's ridiculous

    Is it even a "you have to tell me you're a cop" common misconception or is this totally out of left field?

    It's stupid because you don't need to exchange money for your conversation to be considered privileged

    Yeah but does Cohen know that?

    Maybe. Either way he got 10 bucks for free.

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  • Santa ClaustrophobiaSanta Claustrophobia Ho Ho Ho Disconnecting from Xbox LIVERegistered User regular
    Paying $10 or whatever comically low fee to a lawyer should, at most, be considered a 'mate's rate' from one friend to another. Just a ridiculously low retainer.

    But like others have said, is not a thing for gaining privilege.

  • kaidkaid Registered User regular
    Astaereth wrote: »
    On the other hand Saul Goodman just charged a dollar for something that’s free. That’s just good business sense.

    Those candy bars are not going to buy themselves.

  • MuddBuddMuddBudd Registered User regular
    Pretty sure the $10 story is more trying to control the narrative than any sort of legal defense.

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  • mcpmcp Registered User regular
    Sean Hannity is full of shit and doesn't think before he speaks.

    I don't think there's a single thing behind the $10 remark other than that.

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  • AstaerethAstaereth In the belly of the beastRegistered User regular
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  • mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
    How does it work if Hannity said to Cohen "Hey could I get in trouble if..." and then describes something illegal.

    Is that protected? If you don't admit or ask the lawyer to partake in a crime, but you ask what would happen if you do it...?

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  • David_TDavid_T A fashion yes-man is no good to me. Copenhagen, DenmarkRegistered User regular
    Why a special master should review Michael Cohen's seized files. Not Trump's lawyers, not Cohen's lawyers, not the government's lawyers. A neutral third party needs to do it to preserve privacy and limit fishing expedition. https://www.aclu.org/blog/executive-branch/who-should-review-michael-cohens-files-under-fourth-amendment
    David Cole is the National Legal Director of the ACLU, a professor at Georgetown Law and the reason why this case now involves both the phrase "taint team" and "special master".

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited April 17
    David_T wrote: »
    Tweeter Culled for Phone Happiness
    Why a special master should review Michael Cohen's seized files. Not Trump's lawyers, not Cohen's lawyers, not the government's lawyers. A neutral third party needs to do it to preserve privacy and limit fishing expedition. https://www.aclu.org/blog/executive-branch/who-should-review-michael-cohens-files-under-fourth-amendment
    David Cole is the National Legal Director of the ACLU, a professor at Georgetown Law and the reason why this case now involves both the phrase "taint team" and "special master".

    I would agree except he only has 3 people as "clients" and may not be acting as an actual lawyer at all. The burden should be on him at this point to prove he actually practices law in any capacity, because right now he just appears to be a bag man and "problem solver." Neither of which should provide him with the option of claiming some sort of quantum mechanics form of attorney client privilege.

    I guess an impartial and insulated examination of the documents would be fine, as long as they have experience or support from someone who does criminal investigation.

    All opinion of course, IANAL.

    dispatch.o on
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Ethlete Please Eat Doritos™, Like And SubscribeRegistered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    David_T wrote: »
    Tweeter Culled for Phone Happiness
    Why a special master should review Michael Cohen's seized files. Not Trump's lawyers, not Cohen's lawyers, not the government's lawyers. A neutral third party needs to do it to preserve privacy and limit fishing expedition. https://www.aclu.org/blog/executive-branch/who-should-review-michael-cohens-files-under-fourth-amendment
    David Cole is the National Legal Director of the ACLU, a professor at Georgetown Law and the reason why this case now involves both the phrase "taint team" and "special master".

    I would agree except he only has 3 people as "clients" and may not be acting as an actual lawyer at all. The burden should be on him at this point to prove he actually practices law in any capacity, because right now he just appears to be a bag man and "problem solver." Neither of which should provide him with the option of claiming some sort of quantum mechanics form of attorney client privilege.

    I guess an impartial and insulated examination of the documents would be fine, as long as they have experience or support from someone who does criminal investigation.

    All opinion of course, IANAL.
    Seizing too many files isn't really related to whether or not he has clients.




  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    mxmarks wrote: »
    How does it work if Hannity said to Cohen "Hey could I get in trouble if..." and then describes something illegal.

    Is that protected? If you don't admit or ask the lawyer to partake in a crime, but you ask what would happen if you do it...?

    Protected, most likely

  • Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited April 17
    mxmarks wrote: »
    How does it work if Hannity said to Cohen "Hey could I get in trouble if..." and then describes something illegal.

    Is that protected? If you don't admit or ask the lawyer to partake in a crime, but you ask what would happen if you do it...?

    Well, yeah, that is part of the purpose of a lawyer?

    Like if I asked a lawyer something like “There’s a car that has been parked in my lawn without my permission for the past three weeks, would it be illegal for me to have it sold for scrap without attempting to find/contact the owner?” That would probably be covered, because that is legal advice, even if the act itself is illegal.

    This is very distinct from asking the lawyer “Hey some guy parked his car on my lawn, want to go rent a tow truck and meet me at my house so we can haul it to a chop shop together?

    Jealous Deva on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    mxmarks wrote: »
    How does it work if Hannity said to Cohen "Hey could I get in trouble if..." and then describes something illegal.

    Is that protected? If you don't admit or ask the lawyer to partake in a crime, but you ask what would happen if you do it...?

    Well, yeah, that is part of the purpose of a lawyer?

    Like if I asked a lawyer something like “There’s a car that has been parked in my lawn without my permission for the past three weeks, would it be illegal for me to have it sold for scrap without attempting to find/contact the owner?” That would probably be covered, because that is legal advice, even if the act itself is illegal.

    This is very distinct from asking the lawyer “Hey some guy parked his car on my lawn, want to go rent a tow truck and meet me at my house so we can haul it to a chop shop together?
    I've read the relationship as more:
    "Someone parked a car in my lawn. Sure would be helpful if it we're towed away and sold for scrap. That someone may find themselves rewarded."

  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    David_T wrote: »
    Why a special master should review Michael Cohen's seized files. Not Trump's lawyers, not Cohen's lawyers, not the government's lawyers. A neutral third party needs to do it to preserve privacy and limit fishing expedition. https://www.aclu.org/blog/executive-branch/who-should-review-michael-cohens-files-under-fourth-amendment
    David Cole is the National Legal Director of the ACLU, a professor at Georgetown Law and the reason why this case now involves both the phrase "taint team" and "special master".

    This seems dumb. It's what the taint team is already. There's no way to have a truly "neutral" third party appointed by the court, as it's the court appointing them, and they have to be knowledgeable of the law in order to actually do the job, to know what should be excluded and what should be passed on. And anything that does get passed on is going to be given to the defense before the trial, where they can motion their hearts out to exclude what they don't want in.

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  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    I'm actually fine with a neutral third party doing it. In many criminal cases this is the judge themself that does an in camera review when certain things are subpoenaed to court. In some cases one party may be able to review what the judge is going to release to see if they have objections to what the judge has deemed admissible. But that's more applicable when, say, someone subpoenas your medical records to court and the judge is reviewing for relevant records to a certain injury or something. Not to a situation where the FBI has been investigating you for months and got a no knock search warrant for all your shit. In that case, letting the suspect's lawyers review the material first is pretty absurd.

  • JoeUserJoeUser Registered User regular
    This Hannity stuff is dumb but also fascinating. Surely the judge will ask about Hannity's denial?

    Then Cohen will need to produce some proof, so one or another will be proven to be lying.

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  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    So It Goes wrote: »
    I'm actually fine with a neutral third party doing it. In many criminal cases this is the judge themself that does an in camera review when certain things are subpoenaed to court. In some cases one party may be able to review what the judge is going to release to see if they have objections to what the judge has deemed admissible. But that's more applicable when, say, someone subpoenas your medical records to court and the judge is reviewing for relevant records to a certain injury or something. Not to a situation where the FBI has been investigating you for months and got a no knock search warrant for all your shit. In that case, letting the suspect's lawyers review the material first is pretty absurd.

    Yeah. The argument from the USAO here is that having someone other than a team from the USAO itself (which they’ve presumably already put together) would constitute an unnecessary delay.

    Which, you know, maybe? it’s certainly not a call I could impartially make as a layperson without all the relevant facts at hand.

    This is why we have judges

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  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    JoeUser wrote: »
    This Hannity stuff is dumb but also fascinating. Surely the judge will ask about Hannity's denial?

    Then Cohen will need to produce some proof, so one or another will be proven to be lying.

    There's no point in the court wasting too much time on it, it's going to come out anyway soon enough.

  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    Elldren wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    I'm actually fine with a neutral third party doing it. In many criminal cases this is the judge themself that does an in camera review when certain things are subpoenaed to court. In some cases one party may be able to review what the judge is going to release to see if they have objections to what the judge has deemed admissible. But that's more applicable when, say, someone subpoenas your medical records to court and the judge is reviewing for relevant records to a certain injury or something. Not to a situation where the FBI has been investigating you for months and got a no knock search warrant for all your shit. In that case, letting the suspect's lawyers review the material first is pretty absurd.

    Yeah. The argument from the USAO here is that having someone other than a team from the USAO itself (which they’ve presumably already put together) would constitute an unnecessary delay.

    Which, you know, maybe? it’s certainly not a call I could impartially make as a layperson without all the relevant facts at hand.

    This is why we have judges

    From my understanding a special master would still be a normal way to handle this. I'm concerned that simce that method allows objections that it would lead to additional delay because of "I object to everything" but...

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    jothki wrote: »
    JoeUser wrote: »
    This Hannity stuff is dumb but also fascinating. Surely the judge will ask about Hannity's denial?

    Then Cohen will need to produce some proof, so one or another will be proven to be lying.

    There's no point in the court wasting too much time on it, it's going to come out anyway soon enough.

    Yeah, if Hannity's stuff is related to the charges that the FBI is bringing, it will come up during the proceedings. If they aren't, then they shouldn't be brought up during the proceedings.

    Of course, that doesn't stop everybody outside of the court proceedings asking the valid question of why Cohen tried to keep it so secret if there wasn't anything untowards about it.

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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Josh Marshall at TPM is getting at the links between Cohen and the larger Russia story.

    In particular, he notes that the Cohen's uncle owned the social club where the Russian mafia was headquartered throughout the 70s and 80s. Cohen had a smaller stake in the same club until Trump's election.

    Also he was childhood friends with Felix Sater, who is a bizarre dude in his own right, but more to the point, the son of a capo in one of the major Russian crime syndicates.

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  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    Elldren wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    I'm actually fine with a neutral third party doing it. In many criminal cases this is the judge themself that does an in camera review when certain things are subpoenaed to court. In some cases one party may be able to review what the judge is going to release to see if they have objections to what the judge has deemed admissible. But that's more applicable when, say, someone subpoenas your medical records to court and the judge is reviewing for relevant records to a certain injury or something. Not to a situation where the FBI has been investigating you for months and got a no knock search warrant for all your shit. In that case, letting the suspect's lawyers review the material first is pretty absurd.

    Yeah. The argument from the USAO here is that having someone other than a team from the USAO itself (which they’ve presumably already put together) would constitute an unnecessary delay.

    Which, you know, maybe? it’s certainly not a call I could impartially make as a layperson without all the relevant facts at hand.

    This is why we have judges

    Yeah, I feel like the ACLU guy is making a more conspiratorial argument than is necessary here.

    We don't need a special master to check things before a taint team, that is redundant. If the taint team can't be trusted or if the system isn't set up to keep them independent entirely, then fix that. If the idea is that the taint team is skipped and it just goes to the special master and then back to the lawyers, then either the taint team or the special master is redundant, again.

    Plus, what is to stop someone from filing a motion requesting a special master on the special master. At some point a judge is still going to have to say "no, stop, the line is here" and it feels somewhat arbitrary to determine whether or not that is via a taint team or via a special master. I get the the ACLU's experience would cause them to inherently distrust a team within a government organization, and it is a reasonable concern. But they still have to be aware that there has to be a limit to oversight in order for anything to get accomplished. The arguement for a special master, particularly in the situation framed in the article, where vast amounts of digial information is accessable by the taint team or prosecution, falls apart because you're running into a situation where it's isn't as if one person could possibly sift through the info, they'll need a team, then you have to vet the team, and if the team remains whole, an organization then you have to maintain that organization and then you have to ensure that organization always remains unbiased, and it wouldn't be long before you're in a situation where mistrust is aimed at it, and someone is calling for an "unbiased" review of the organization made to be an unbiased view.

    What I'm saying is that, even from the perspective of an organization dedicated to personal liberties like the ACLU, there has to be some reasonable expectation that a line needs to be drawn where trust can be placed. For this guy, it clearly isn't the taint team; I just think calling for another set of eyes to do a job that the taint team is set up to do, the solution (in my mind anyway) isn't an outside party, but ensuring the party that already exists has the oversight and support it needs to do its job without needing to have oversight of oversight of oversight. Because, really, this stuff has already been looked at by people doing the investigation and the judge that issued the warrant. The taint team would be eyes #3, a special master would either replace #3 or be #4, in either situation redundant.

    Basically, I guess, work to fix the problem before you just keep adding patches.

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  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Astaereth wrote: »
    On the other hand Saul Goodman just charged a dollar for something that’s free. That’s just good business sense.

    The character of Saul Goodman is also street-smart enough to know that rather than trying to explain the technicalities of the law, it's a lot easier to say something that lay-people will hear and go "okay that sounds legit." Same result.

    yeah in that scene it made a weird sort of sense. It irritated me that they mirrored it in Better Call Saul, with Saul/Jimmy's associate suggesting it between the two of them - in that situation, they were both lawyers, and she at least was professional enough to know that the "give me a dollar" thing is meaningless.

  • HenroidHenroid Internet Pariah Going nowhere, but fast.Registered User regular
    Well on the Stormy Daniels side of things, she's disclosed that if she wins this out (she will) she's going to donate the $130k to Planned Parenthood... in the name of Trump and Cohen.

    I'd link to the citation but it's from Penthouse.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote: »
    Well on the Stormy Daniels side of things, she's disclosed that if she wins this out (she will) she's going to donate the $130k to Planned Parenthood... in the name of Trump and Cohen.

    I'd link to the citation but it's from Penthouse.
    This follows the theme of doing something nice in a really dickish way.

  • ViskodViskod Registered User regular
    Lawrence O’Donnell reported tonight that the law firm representing Trump in Cohen’s case, Spears and Inman, is literally the best that money could buy for SDNY.

    Just the best.

    And then added that the Spears and Inman theirselves, worked with James Comey, were his friends, and wrote a letter to Rosenstein expressing their professional and personal feelings about his firing and that they urge him to appoint a special counsel to investigate.

    Their letter was also signed by over 100 attorneys.

    Normally this would be the kind of association that Trump would rage at and forbid but it shows you how seriously terrified he is about people looking at Cohens documents.

    Artereis wrote: »
    It's not your fault, Viskod. 1 out of every 10 people just happens to be a monster.
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    Viskod wrote: »
    Lawrence O’Donnell reported tonight that the law firm representing Trump in Cohen’s case, Spears and Inman, is literally the best that money could buy for SDNY.

    Just the best.

    And then added that the Spears and Inman theirselves, worked with James Comey, were his friends, and wrote a letter to Rosenstein expressing their professional and personal feelings about his firing and that they urge him to appoint a special counsel to investigate.

    Their letter was also signed by over 100 attorneys.

    Normally this would be the kind of association that Trump would rage at and forbid but it shows you how seriously terrified he is about people looking at Cohens documents.

    Trump's lawyers in the Cohen case, separate from the Mueller case, are friends with Comey? Why would they (the lawyers) agree to take Trump?

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  • ViskodViskod Registered User regular
    The heads of the firm are.

    Artereis wrote: »
    It's not your fault, Viskod. 1 out of every 10 people just happens to be a monster.
  • OghulkOghulk Aka Mr. RIBS Aka Andre 3001Registered User regular
    So do we need a Hannity thread now?

    Cause Hannity is a shadow chief of staff for Trump

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  • ViskodViskod Registered User regular
    Summarize the relation? Because Paywall.

    Artereis wrote: »
    It's not your fault, Viskod. 1 out of every 10 people just happens to be a monster.
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    Viskod wrote: »
    Lawrence O’Donnell reported tonight that the law firm representing Trump in Cohen’s case, Spears and Inman, is literally the best that money could buy for SDNY.

    Just the best.

    And then added that the Spears and Inman theirselves, worked with James Comey, were his friends, and wrote a letter to Rosenstein expressing their professional and personal feelings about his firing and that they urge him to appoint a special counsel to investigate.

    Their letter was also signed by over 100 attorneys.

    Normally this would be the kind of association that Trump would rage at and forbid but it shows you how seriously terrified he is about people looking at Cohens documents.

    Trump's lawyers in the Cohen case, separate from the Mueller case, are friends with Comey? Why would they (the lawyers) agree to take Trump?

    I can only speculate but

    A substantial and ironclad retainer?

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  • FawstFawst The road to awe.Registered User regular
    edited April 18
    It’s been reported for months and months now that he’s been an advisor to Trump. This strikes me as “water is wet.”
    “WaPo” wrote:
    The phone calls between President Trump and Sean Hannity come early in the morning or late at night, after the Fox News host goes off the air. They discuss ideas for Hannity’s show, Trump’s frustration with the ongoing special counsel probe and even, at times, what the president should tweet, according to people familiar with the conversations. When he’s off the phone, Trump is known to cite Hannity when he talks with White House advisers.

    The revelation this week that the two men share an attorney is just the latest sign of how Hannity is intertwined with Trump’s world — an increasingly powerful confidant who offers the media-driven president a sympathetic ear and shared grievances. The conservative commentator is so close to Trump that some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff.

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  • TaramoorTaramoor Registered User regular
    The executive branch right now seems to consist of Donald Trump, John Bolton, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Sean Hannity.

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    edited April 18
    Viskod wrote: »
    Summarize the relation? Because Paywall.

    Honestly, Oghulk summarized it pretty well. It is adding a name to the list of people who aren't in the White House that Trump calls for advice. I am not certain there is much more I would consider relevant to this thread in particular. Just demonstrating how shady Hannity's coverage of the raid has been considering he is apparently very much involved in Trump's inner circle which included Cohen.

    Edit: To be clear I am not trying to meta-mod. I just don't want to go to in-depth and end up off-topic myself.

    Gnizmo on
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah let's not go down that tangent. I'm sure 1.2 people in the country are surprised Trump calls Hannity about shit.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Taramoor wrote: »
    The executive branch right now seems to consist of Donald Trump, John Bolton, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Sean Hannity.

    How could you forget Lou Dobbs??!?!

  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 18
    Michael Cohen mess - just the FAQs, ma'am

    So, what is even going on?

    Michael Cohen, who has been known as Trump's attorney for a long while now, was revealed as the target of an FBI investigation. The FBI raided his office and hotel room based on a search warrant authorized by a federal judge. The search warrant was obtained after receiving a referral of information from Robert Mueller, who is currently the appointed Special Counsel investigating Trump, his associates, and the Trump campaign.

    See also: the OP


    I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS

    Oh, I know.

    Can a lawyer be subject to a search warrant? I thought laywer files were protected!

    Lawyers, like anyone else, are perfectly capable of committing criminal acts. If law enforcement has enough information to convince a judge there is probable cause that a crime has been committed and that they know where they can find evidence of said crime, the judge can authorize a search warrant. It's unclear if this situation involved a no-knock warrant, which basically means the judge authorizes law enforcement to enter the premises subject to be searched without announcing themselves or asking to be let in. In order to be granted a no-knock warrant, law enforcement must present facts that show the person or things they are searching for are subject to deletion/tampering in such a way that it is necessary for the police to just go in and seize evidence before they can be destroyed.

    Lawyers and their clients enjoy what is called the attorney-client privilege. Generally, this protects privileged communications between a lawyer and their client from being disclosed to other people without permission of the client. Neither the lawyer nor the client can be forced, in a court proceeding, to reveal those communications, unless the privilege has been waived or otherwise pierced, or a court deems the communications were never privileged to begin with. This is the situation we are dealing with here. More on this later.


    Who is investigating Cohen anyway? Is this part of the Mueller investigation? Is it the Attorney General of NY? I'm confused!

    You should be because this Presidential administration is so incestuously corrupt that it's hard to keep this shit straight. Also everyone is learning a LOT about our federal criminal system these days!

    Let's start with the federal Department of Justice.

    Chart? Chart:
    Red edits are mine.
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    Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General for the United States. There are many federal districts in the US, where US Attorneys (appointed by the President), are the top prosecutor for their district. The Department of Justice criminal divisions, and the underlying federal districts, work to enforce federal criminal statutes.

    In addition, each state has their own state Attorney General, who heads the state's own Department of Justice. Each county in every state will have a District Attorney who is in charge of prosecuting state crimes in that county. These two offices only work to enforce state criminal statutes.

    Deputy USA Robert Khuzami is heading the prosecution of Cohen's case. Geoffrey Berman, the USA for SDNY, has recused himself, meaning he will not participate in the prosecution, look at the file, go to court on it, etc. He donated money to Trump's campaign and was personally interviewed by Trump before his appointment. He apparently cares about these nebulous concepts of "ethics" and "conflict of interest."

    Mueller is not investigating Cohen for the particular federal crimes involved in the SDNY case.

    There are no charges filed yet but speculation/information about possible charges includes:

    - money laundering
    - bank fraud
    - using campaign finance money to pay off Stormy Daniels (who is Stormy Daniels? Go here.) and possible other illegal campaign finance stuff
    - other various white collar crimes

    Mueller IS investigating Cohen insofar as he is looking into Cohen's movements and involvements in Trump's campaign and Trump's contacts with Russia. Specifically a story has come out reporting that Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague, despite Cohen's repeated denials of this fact. If you would like to talk about that aspect of what Cohen's been up to, go HERE.

    For this thread, the topic of discussion is the SDNY investigation and case against Cohen, which everyone basically learned about when the FBI raided Cohen's stuff.

    Still confused? Yeah. Yeah. Here's a video by Washpo called "Untangling the web of Michael Cohen" which might be helpful.


    What if Trump pardons Cohen for his federal crimes? Could Cohen be charged at the state level too?

    There is some precedent, though it is not 100% clear, that accepting a pardon equals an admission of guilt to the crime you accept the pardon for. Should Cohen accept a pardon for any federal crimes that could also be charged as state crimes on the same facts, it is entirely possible that the NY AG could bring a state-level case against Cohen. Due to the doctrine of dual sovereignty, this would be unlikely to trigger any Constitutional double jeapordy concerns. In addition, since he had accepted a pardon for the same facts and admitted guilt, Cohen would have a difficult time defending himself in state court. He almost certainly could not claim 5th amendment protection and could probably be compelled to testify. These are uncharted waters, folks, for never before have we had a group of cretinous corrupt morons so willing to test the very bounds of Presidential pardon power while stomping on the decorum we've had in place for many many years.


    How fucked is Cohen, here?

    Turbo-fucked. This type of raid on a personal attorney for the President is unprecedented. It takes a lot to build enough of a case to get a search warrant for a lawyer's office. The FBI, apparently, has enough.


    What's the deal with all these people arguing about getting to review the evidence seized by the FBI?

    So. Immediately after the raid Cohen got his attorneys to file for a Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO. Trump's lawyers wrote a letter in support of this motion. This is a legal method reserved for extraordinary relief, when you need the court to put a hold on something to prevent harm (not a legal standard, I'm paraphrasing here). Cohen's team's motion exclaims that they should be able to review all the evidence first, without the government seeing it, to determine if any of it contains material that is covered by attorney-client privilege. They claim there are thousands, if not millions, of documents seized that are subject to privilege. Here's the response from the prosecutors in the case.

    The prosecution is arguing that they have a "taint team" *snicker* set up already to determine which of the evidence they seized is actually covered by the privilege. Basically, the taint team will pass on to the investigation team only the material seized that is NOT covered by privilege, retaining the rest so the investigatory team doesn't see anything they should not. Here's the explanation:
    Second, the President appears to misunderstand the USAO-SDNY’s proposed review protocol when he states that “as to those communications between Mr. Cohen and his acknowledged clients, the taint team would immediately release all such communications to the Investigative Team that it concludes are ‘not privileged,’ again without any input from the privilege-holder.” (Letter at 4). This is wrong. As set forth in our prior brief, for any communications between Cohen and a client, the USAO-SDNY would (1) confer with counsel for the privilege holder at the appropriate time and before any such material is shared with the Investigative Team and, if no agreement can be reached, submit the material under seal to an appropriate court for a determination as to privilege; (2) bring the document to a court for an ex parte determination if appropriate;3 or (3) if the document is of obviously minimal probative value, place the document into the “Privileged” category as a means of efficiently completing the review.

    The prosecution argues that Cohen and Trump, first of all, haven't laid a legal basis allowing them to review everything first, and second of all, that this is a clear delay tactic, as setting up another method of review will take some time.

    In this memo the government also reveals that they don't believe much, if any, of the material they seized is actually subject to attorney-client privilege, because Cohen has, let's say barely been acting as an actual lawyer. This prompted the court to ask Cohen to basically prove he has real clients. Which led to Cohen saying his clients are Trump (duh), Elliot Brody, an RNC finance offical who got a Playboy Bunny pregnant and then (allegedly) paid her $1.6 million dollars through Cohen (this story broke before the hearing so Cohen couldn't deny it), and DUN DUN DUN - Sean Hannity! Who has since basically denied he was Cohen's client other than a few casual conversations about real estate.

    The judge in the case, Judge Kimba Wood, denied the request for a TRO. The judge has, at this point, said she is considering appointing a special master, which would basically be a neutral third party to do the same job as the taint team is ready to do.


    I have more questions about privilege!

    Let's do privilege 101 here.

    First - what does it mean if something is privileged? It means that the privileged information or communication cannot be disclosed without the privilege holder's permission, even if you are in court under oath. An easy example is doctors and patients. Doctors cannot disclose privileged medical information about their patients unless the patient gives permission. (There are also further federal privacy laws but that's besides the point). However, all privileges have limits. For instance, the doctor-patient privilege applies to communications about (you guessed it) medical treatment, diagnoses, etc. If someone was in for a doctor appointment and said, "Oh by the way Doc, I murdered a guy last night," it's very unlikely that particular statement would be covered by the privilege.

    Second - how does something become privileged? In the case of attorny-client privilege it requires several things.

    1 - an attorney. The person must be speaking to an attorney. It doesn't matter if they've retained that attorney or not. No money needs to exchange hands. Breaking Bad was wrong.
    2 - intended to be private, not disclosed to third parties. Earlier I gave an example of a client speaking with their attorney about their case, loudly, in a crowded hallway. This conversation is unlikely to be considered privileged. Likewise if you and your attorney were posting in this thread about your case. The exception to this idea is if you are speaking with your attorney and third party in furtherence of the lawyer working on your case. Example - you, your attorney, and a private investigator meet to speak about your case.
    3 - legal advice or communication relating to your case. Speaking to your attorney about the weather or the game last night isn't privileged, talking to your attorney about any aspect of your case (or hypothetical case, or future possible case) is. Potential clients who called attorneys but then get turned down? All their communications are still privileged. Clients who've moved on to another attorney? Former clients are still covered. The key here is that the communication is made for the purpose of facilitating the rendering of professional legal services.

    Third - when is the privilege waived? Well, there are a few situations where privilege is considered waived (non exhaustive list follows).

    1 - If the services of the lawyer were sought in order to commit a crime. This is a biggie for Cohen, who apparently was committing crimes on a regular basis per the FBI. Trump asking Cohen to make an illegal bribe to Stormy Daniels? That communication ain't priveleged.
    2 - When the client sues the lawyer for malpractice and the lawyer has to defend themself
    3 - Child abuse reporting and similar, with a big asterisk because this depends on a lot of factors and which state you're in

    Fourth - in what case would the privilege not apply at all?

    When you're a dirty fucking lawyer doing crimes and "enforcing" or "fixing" like you're in Goodfellas instead of practicing law. Or when you barely have three clients and for two of them we know you paid off mistresses. Again, a federal judge signed off on a search warrant for Cohen's law office. Dude has been up to no good.


    Alright back to the whole DOJ structure and US Attorney - can Trump fire the prosecutors, since they work for the federal DOJ?

    IMO this is on par with firing Mueller, and triggers a Constitutional crisis. It would be absolutely unprecedented. And maybe why Berman recused himself, to cut that shit off at the pass. We'll see.







    So It Goes on
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