18.04.11 Ac Privilege

April 11, 2018
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“Attorneyaclient privilege is dead!”

President Trump via Twitter, April 10, 2018

Does the federal raid on Michael Cohen (Trump’s personal lawyer) signify the end of one of our nation’s most sacred legal principles?


What is the Attorney-Client Privilege?

  • Allows a client to avoid testifying about, or otherwise disclosing, confidential communications with their lawyer relating to legal advice (ex: not financial advice).
  • Also means the attorney *usually* cannot be required to disclose.
  • Meant to encourage clients to communicate freely with their attorneys.

Is the Attorney-Client Privilege Dead? Nope.

BOTTOM LINE: The attorney-client privilege is alive and well, as are its exceptions, including the crime-fraud exception.

The privilege does NOT apply to communications in furtherance of an ongoing or (intended) future crime or fraud.

What does this mean for Cohen &/or Pres. Trump?

Cohen has not been charged with a crime & the raid is not proof of one.

The raid, which required multiple levels of authorization by high-level federal officials, IS proof that law enforcement authorities convinced a judge there was probable cause to believe the search would produce evidence of a particular crime.

NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos says the fact the FBI opted to execute the raid on Cohen without notice, as opposed to allowing him to produce documents in response to a subpoena suggests something important. Read his article:

“The Fourth Amendment provides that ‘no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’ A valid search warrant rests on a finding that there is probable cause to believe that (1) a crime has been committed and (2) evidence of the crime will be found in the place to be searched. ‘Probable cause’ means the FBI would have to demonstrate to a magistrate that there was a substantial chance evidence of criminal activity would be found in Cohen’s offices, or in a hotel where he was living, which was also searched.


According to Department of Justice policy, an application for a search warrant of a lawyer’s office such as this is so serious that it usually requires approval of either the U.S. attorney for the district, or the assistant attorney general.”

by Jenna Lee,