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“Why should [prosecutors] get to read Sean Hannity’s communications with Michael Cohen?”

“Why should [prosecutors] get to read Sean Hannity’s communications with Michael Cohen?”

My interview on the John Gibson Radio Show: The “way the prosecutors went about it has done damage to the public perception of attorney-client relationships”

https://youtu.be/xMkyWp56m-I

The court proceedings regarding the seizure of materials from the law office of Michael Cohen ended yesterday without a formal ruling on the substance of how the case will proceed as to review of seized materials. The issue is whether a so-called “taint team” from DOJ/FBI will review the records first, or whether there will be a Special Master.

Contrary to many reports, the request for a Temporary Restraining Order was not denied on the merits, but because it was moot. The TRO request was moot because pending a court ruling on procedures for review of materials, the feds are not reviewing what they seized. That was my understanding from live tweeting of the proceedings, and it’s confirmed by a letter the prosecutors filed in court today (pdf.)(emphasis added):

… with respect to the timeline for production of seized material, the Government expects to begin a rolling production by Friday, April 27, 2018, and to complete the production by on or about May 11, 2018,1 with the possible exception of the content of certain telephones. These dates may be subject to change primarily for the following reasons: (1) because law enforcement has voluntarily refrained from reviewing any of the seized material, including seized electronic devices such as computers and phones, the volume of electronic material on the devices is presently unknown; and (2) it is particularly difficult with respect to telephones to estimate the length of time the downloading process will take. We expect to know within a week whether these or any other issues will materially change the expected production schedule, and will promptly advise the Court and Cohen if such a change is expected. In light of the foregoing, the parties jointly request that the Court schedule a status conference on May 25, 2018 – i.e., ten business days after the currently predicted production date.

1 In addition to providing the materials to Cohen’s counsel via an electronic database, the Government has agreed to also provide the material as separate load files, so that Cohen’s counsel may utilize its own database, should they so choose. This means that Cohen’s counsel should have access to most of these materials well before May 11.

The judge was quoted as saying at the April 16, 2018 hearing that she had “faith” in the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

“I have faith in the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office,” she said. “Their integrity is unimpeachable.”

The procedure to be used is important because there are attorney-client materials involved for as least three clients of Cohen — Donald Trump, Elliot Broidy and Client No. 3.

Client No. 3 was revealed in Court on Monday to be Sean Hannity, by court order. I didn’t know it until today, but that Order originally was going to have Client No. 3’s identity provided to prosecutors under seal, but attorneys for the NY Times and CNN convinced the judge to have it disclosed in open court.

Here was Hannity’s statement in response to a media frenzy and wild speculation that he had a Storm-Daniels-type problem that Cohen fixed for him:

The public disclosure of Hannity’s name was an egregious violation of his legitimate expectation that his legal consultation with Cohen, on matters that appear to be completely unrelated to the criminal investigation, would be maintained as a secret.

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, not at the time knowing of the NY Times/CNN role or the initial ruling to keep Hannity’s identity under seal, I explained on the John Gibson Radio Show why this public disclosure was damaging to public confidence in attorney-client confidentiality,

The audio and a full-transcript of my segment are below.

Gibson: What do you think is going on here, if Sean Hannity calls up Michael Cohen and says “hey, I wanted to ask you about some real estate thing I’m thinking about getting into,” does that make Sean Hannity a client of Michael Cohen?

Jacobson: In a legal ethics sense, yes. Whether it makes him a ‘client’ in the way we sometimes think about it, it doesn’t matter whether he signed a retainer, whether he has retained him for a particular project, whether he’s paid him any money. Once a client consults, once a person consults with an attorney for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, that now becomes an attorney-client relationship. So yes, Sean Hannity, if he sought out Michael Cohen’s advice, legal advice on real estate — and I would distinguish that from business advice. If he calls up Michael Cohen and says, “hey, do you think this property is valued fairly,” that’s not seeking legal advice. But if he asked him legal questions and gets legal advice, for the purposes of attorney-client privilege that is an attorney-client relationship even if there’s no money exchanged, no formal retention.

Gibson: So if there is an attorney-client relationship, and Hannity has essentially nothing to do with the purpose of the investigation for seizing the records of Michael Cohen’s office and home and so forth, should his name have been revealed? And should his, does he have attorney-client privilege with whatever it is Michael Cohen’s got that involves his name.

Jacobson: The easier answer is that whatever communications he had with Michael Cohen [about legal advice] are privileged, they are attorney-client privilege communications. They should be protected.

Whether a client’s identity, the name of the client, is protected is a much trickier matter. In general, lawyers are supposed to maintain that as what’s called a “secret.” Not attorney-client privilege, but they’re supposed to maintain client identity as a secret unless the client says that you can use my name. That’s in the normal course.

Once you get to court though, whether a court should compel that, is a different question, and there the law, I think, for the most part is that the client identity, absent some other factor, is not in and of itself privileged, and is not in and of itself protected. And that’s why, I didn’t hear the arguments in court and none of the people tweeting from the courtroom really gave a very good elaboration of what the arguments are, but I assume that that was the judge’s finding. That absent some other circumstance, and there might be circumstances, there have been some oddball cases where revealing the identity of the client may in and of itself reveal privileged information. But that’s not the case here. So generally speaking, the identity is not legally protected in court.

That’s a very different question, though, in my mind, as to whether this whole way the prosecutors went about it has done damage to the public perception of attorney-client relationships. Because I think the public would generally assume that if I’m going to consult you privately, that’s never going to be disclosed to anybody, that I even did that. And so I think damage has been done here to the attorney-client relationship, even if the court might legally have been correct in compelling it.

Gibson: Okay, there’s this other question. Now the government seized Michael Cohen’s records, and there’s going to be some procedure whereby, well what the government wanted was to appoint a special FBI agent to look over stuff, determine what is covered under attorney-client privilege, and what is not. Turn over to the government what is not, keep private what is. But that’s the government looking at the stuff anyway. Is there really a wall that you can count on?

Jacobson: Well, I don’t think there is. One of the most troubling things that was reported that the judge said in court yesterday, was that she trusts the Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office. Well, that’s not supposed to be the way we operate. Whether you trust the prosecutors or you don’t, you need protection for attorney-client information. Sean Hannity, as far as we know, has nothing to do with any of the potential crimes that Michael Cohen’s being investigated for.  His confidential material should not be read by anybody.

I think that allowing a so-called, they call it a “taint team,” that the FBI will insert a special team, or the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a special team of people who have no role in the investigation, their only role is to supposedly objectively come in and review this material. Why should they get to read Sean Hannity’s communications with Michael Cohen? They shouldn’t. I think that’s one of the objections, that by allowing a search warrant of an entire law office file — now there’s a dispute how much Michael Cohen was really practicing law, but clearly when it comes to Sean Hannity it appears he was. Why should anybody get to see that, whether they’re a “taint team” or they’re anybody else?

I don’t think the court has instituted those protections just because, by having a group from the U.S. Attorney’s office review the material. That damage is done, because now people will be of the perception, I think correctly, that what they tell their attorney really isn’t completely private, that there might someday be some other third party who’s going to look it over, and maybe they’ll maintain the confidentiality, maybe they won’t, and the judge is going to trust them to do it.

So I think it’s a pretty egregious situation, and it shows what happens when judge’s get too comfortable with the people who are regularly in their courtroom. Judge Kimba Wood has a fine reputation, but the fact of the matter is the attorneys from the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office are probably in front of her virtually every day. And the judge’s get comfortable with people. She would never, probably, say well I trust somebody else to do this. She shouldn’t be trusting anybody to do anything. She should be insisting on procedures that protect people like Sean Hannity from having their confidential attorney-client communications revealed to anybody.

So really, what I think should have happened, in this instance of a law office having its records seized, she should have appointed a Special Master, somebody who operates as an extension of the court, and that that person, not the U.S. Attorney’s Office, that court operative would review the material in the first instance to decide whether it even has anything to do with the criminal investigation. Only when you’ve made that decision you get to the next question, is it privileged or not.

So I think what has happened is really pretty terrible, it’s what has happened with the pursuit of Donald Trump. Because all of this is about Donald Trump. This was a referral from Robert Mueller’s office, he essentially outsourced the investigation of Trump’s attorney to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This is all an attempt to somehow get to Trump, and I think the Court should have been much more protective of people like Sean Hannity’s rights.”

After the interview I saw an Op-Ed by retired Judge and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, which proves my point that no trust or confidence in the prosecutors by a judge should be driving the procedure to be used. The Op-Ed relates problems in prosecutions headed up by Robert Mueller and James Comey, prosecutions that were completely botched and targeted innocent people, Trump, Cohen and Attorney-Client Privilege:

Agents typically do that by sending in a “filter team,” whose members have no contact with those involved in the investigation. That ensures that information that should not be examined—whether privileged or not—does not seep into, or “taint,” the investigation.
That’s the theory. Its success depends on the skill and honor of the filter team, and even in the best case it doesn’t prevent some government personnel from examining private records that are none of the government’s business.

The process risks damaging the significant public interest that led to the creation of the privilege in the first place. Is it worth the reward? One would think that would depend at least in part on the seriousness of the crimes under investigation.

* * *

After anthrax spores killed five people, infected 17 others, and showed up in envelopes mailed to U.S. senators and media organizations in 2001, the current special counsel, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spent years chasing and destroying the reputation of a microbiologist named Steven Hatfill, zealous in the belief that Mr. Hatfill was the guilty party. Another zealot, James Comey, then deputy attorney general, said he was “absolutely certain” no mistake had been made.

After Mr. Hatfill was exonerated—he received more than $5.5 million in damages from the government—Mr. Mueller then decided that another microbiologist, Bruce Ivins, was the culprit. When Ivins committed suicide, Mr. Mueller pronounced the case closed. A subsequent investigation by the National Academy of Sciences suggests Ivins too was innocent.

Mr. Mueller is not a bad man, nor is Mr. Comey. It’s just that both show particular confidence when making mistakes, which makes one grateful for safeguards like the attorney-client privilege.

The same problems were seen in the Southern District of New York when Preet Bhahara, now an anti-Trump Twitter troll, was the U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara’s victories keep melting away:

Among the most frequent — and, at least according to those on the left, credible — critics of President Trump has been Preet Bharara, who was the most powerful federal prosecutor in the country until Trump fired him on March 10, along with 45 of his fellow US attorneys.

That credibility took a hit Thursday, when an appeals court vacated the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver’s conviction was supposed to be a major feather in Bharara’s cap. Now his record of having convictions overturned will, deservedly, get more scrutiny….

In several cases, Bharara expanded the definition of misappropriated information so much that it appeared — at least according to the appellate courts — to criminalize information that the trader might not have known was stolen in the first place.

With that, a slew of insider-trading convictions were overturned.

Bharara, now a private citizen and law professor at NYU, would no doubt say I’m cherry-picking his duds and that his overall record as a prosecutor is strong. (He declined to comment.) But I’d say the case against Silver (which prosecutors will retry) and the overturned insider-trading convictions are pretty big cherries.

I don’t have or not have “faith” in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY. It’s irrelevant. Strict procedures independent of the prosecutor’s office should be put in place to protect not only the attorney-client privilege related to matters under criminal investigation, but also a more broad protection for the confidences of people like Sean Hannity who are innocent bystanders.

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Comments

“…the feds are not reviewing what they seized.”

Anybody who believes this, let me know if you are interested in a bridge [cheap].

The feds aren’t reviewing it? That’s rich. Apparently attorney client privilege applies to democrats only.

When I was a cop how many cases could I have solved just by scrolling through the dirt bags attorney’s office? Sounds fine to me.

Mueller is a dirty vindictive rat. He stinks. Comey is just as bad but without the mule headed nastiness.

    YellowGrifterInChief in reply to forksdad. | April 21, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    So you testi-lied?

      JusticeDelivered in reply to YellowGrifterInChief. | April 24, 2018 at 11:41 am

      I tend to be pretty sympathetic towards police. They have a tough job, dangerous and unpredictable. They stand between law abiding productive citizens and low life.

      It is kind of hard to work in a gutter and not end up with something nasty affecting them.

      It is also not surprising that criminal types and those who associate with them do not like cops. Personally, I don’t care one bit about their likes and dislikes.

The Friendly Grizzly | April 18, 2018 at 8:18 pm

I guess attorney client privilege is just another quaint and bothersome artifact of our past.

regulus arcturus | April 18, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Just reading –

The Outrageous Outing of Sean Hannity, Cont’d

It violated longstanding, judicially endorsed standards.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/sean-hannity-outing-violates-law/

SpaceInvader | April 18, 2018 at 8:26 pm

Note to all, those rights that you thought you had are just an illusion.

“Why should [prosecutors] get to read Sean Hannity’s communications with Michael Cohen? They shouldn’t.”

Who says they are?

Who says they care?

    Mac45 in reply to Ragspierre. | April 18, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Do you seal an envelope when you send a business letter? Do you go into a private room to discuss sensitive subjects? Do you close the blinds before you have sex in your home? Of course you do. Do you, as an attorney, let anyone who wants to come into your office and read the material in your clients files, do so? Of course not? Why? Because you and your clients have a presumptive right to privacy, which you and they exercise.

    What the DOJ has done, in the Cohen case, is the equivalent of putting a concealed camera in a lady’s dressing room in order to capture a drug transaction. Now, are any of the LEOs watching the ladies change clothing or shower? Is there any chance that the tape will end up in the public eye, say on the internet? Of course not. [LOL, Guffaw, snort snort.]

    Sure. Nobody will look at any of the Hannity material.

      Ragspierre in reply to Mac45. | April 18, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Judging others by yourself…???

        DaveGinOly in reply to Ragspierre. | April 18, 2018 at 10:01 pm

        Judging people by human nature – the reason why the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are so tight-fisted concerning government authority. The authors understood that even if most government officials could be trusted, human nature dictates that some inevitably can’t be trusted – therefore (as Fox Mulder would say) trust no one.

          Ragspierre in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 18, 2018 at 10:19 pm

          So, are you buying the broke-dick analogy of Mac.22?

          You wouldn’t review Hannity’s stuff, and neither would I. Partly because I just don’t give a good shit.

        Mac45 in reply to Ragspierre. | April 19, 2018 at 10:17 am

        I NEVER make the mistake of expecting others ot live up to the standards that I do. I would not be leaking classified or damaging material. But, others do. I would never intentionally lie. But, others do. I would never peep into another person’s bedroom. But, others do.

        If you expect everyone else in the world to be honest and ethical, then you will find yourself standing in the street naked and destitute.

        But, I guess that you send all of your mail on post cards, discuss private business while sitting in a restaurant and leave the blinds open at your home, when engaged in sexual activity. Because NO ONE would read your mail, eavesdrop on your conversation or peak into your windows. Say hello to the unicorn for me.

          Ragspierre in reply to Mac45. | April 19, 2018 at 10:48 am

          I’m clearly not nearly as fascinating as you appear to believe you are.

          Mac45 in reply to Mac45. | April 19, 2018 at 2:42 pm

          Another nonsense response. But, then, as soon as you run out of cogent arguments, you resort to personal insults and gibberish.

          Ragspierre in reply to Mac45. | April 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

          Nothing I said was a personal insult. And nothing I said was “gibberish”.

          Don’t get all wee-weed up, buckwheat.

          Mac45 in reply to Mac45. | April 20, 2018 at 12:16 pm

          Your response made no sense, therefor it was gibberish. Of course, buckwheat is a term of endearment on your part.

          LOL.

    Ragspierre, with all due and loving respect, where the hell do you get off using, in brackets, [prosecutors] in that sentence? I will quote, in full, the preceding sentence.

    “I think that allowing a so-called, they call it a “taint team,” that the FBI will insert a special team, or the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a special team of people who have no role in the investigation, their only role is to supposedly objectively come in and review this material.”

    How does “a special team of people who have no role in the investigation” turn into [prosecutors] for the purpose of your asking, “Who says they are?” Really, how?

      Ragspierre in reply to JBourque. | April 18, 2018 at 9:37 pm

      I pasted what the Prof. said. You should just read.

        Actually, I read the body of the piece without paying much attention to the headline. That’s why I felt what you quoted was misleading. I appreciate that you have “got” the professor on the headline used by this blog post. I don’t like the framing. The argument he made in the text was more nuanced.

        So with that objection made… that the taint team, “officially”, is not part of the prosecution in this instance… you ask, who says [prosecutors] are [reading Hannity’s communications]?

        I believe she is known as Judge Kimba Woods?

          Milhouse in reply to JBourque. | April 19, 2018 at 1:39 am

          But they wouldn’t be reading it. Knowing that Hannity is Cohen’s client, and having no interest in him or his doings, the moment they see that a message is from or to Hannity they would be expected to set it aside and not read it.

          Edward in reply to JBourque. | April 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

          Thank you Milhouse for stating that the only thing which is sure is that any government personnel reviewing the seized material for inclusion or exclusion would be expected not to read it. That the expectation is not a guaranteed fact is beyond question. Some wouldn’t read further, some would read out of curiousity and a small minority would read with malicious intent.

          Edward in reply to JBourque. | April 19, 2018 at 9:08 am

          Sorry for the failure of bolding termination after “expected”. I typed it, haven’t any idea where the characters went.

    Why do they have possession of it in the first place? Arguing about whether they’re corrupt enough to abuse it is just so much pissing in the wind.

    stevewhitemd in reply to Ragspierre. | April 19, 2018 at 11:23 am

    I am having trouble believing that a practicing attorney, as you say you are, would be so naïve as to think that attorney-client privilege is a trifle that doesn’t matter. Attorneys are well schooled in the protection of clients, documents, conversations, and evidence. Attorneys do not ever trust the other side, even when they have a cordial, professional relationship with the lawyers on that other side. There’s a whole set of legal codes, bar association codes, case law, and legal practice that emphasizes the attorney-client privilege, and exactly where that privilege starts and ends.

    As Prof. Jacobson, and other lawyers on the web, eloquently note.

    So “who says they are?” Why, just about everyone who understands how lawyers work. Many, many good lawyers are quite concerned because they KNOW that the temptation to take a look is very high. Apparently, they know their brethren.

    So “who says they care?” Irrelevant, counselor. They may care, they may not. That’s not the issue at hand.

    Perhaps you can explain why attorney-client privilege doesn’t matter when the lawyer works for a president you despise.

      Ragspierre in reply to stevewhitemd. | April 19, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      “I am having trouble believing that a practicing attorney, as you say you are, would be so naïve as to think that attorney-client privilege is a trifle that doesn’t matter.”

      I’ve never said, implied, or suggested any such thing.

      A-C confidences are NOT the sacrosanct untouchables you and others seem to “LATELY” think they are, as I’ve written previously. I also don’t suggest they are throw-aways.

      As a matter of principle and ethics, I treat any even potential client communication as a confidence. But, as I’ve written before, NOBODY else is constrained by that, and ANYBODY observing someone entering my office is under no duty to NOT publish whatever they’ve seen and make what deductions they may from that.

      I have older computers that I have not donated because I cannot be assured that the data on their hard-drives will be destroyed, and I don’t have the time (or have taken the time) to remove them. Some law firms have found themselves in trouble because they donated old copiers with hard drives in them.

      It is an open question as to whether Hannity and Cohen even HAD any A-C relationship. Hannity has been all over the map on his ambiguous bullshit regarding the matter, and clearly has no interest in telling the truth.

    VaGentleman in reply to Ragspierre. | April 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Never Trumpers’ Whining About Principles Was Just An Act

    You know all that insufferable babbling and crying about “principles” we had to endure from you Never Trump Konservative Ken Dolls? Your rending of your cheap suits, your 180s over classic GOP policies because The Donald actually tried to enact them, and your mortifying blubbering to suddenly sympathetic hosts on MSNBC and CNN about how awful our President is? With your sad, drawn faces and high-pitched voices, you True Conservatives of Conservatism™, you Keepers of the Flame of Conservativeness resisted the coming of Donald Trump (and those who supported him) because…because…

    Because that’s not who we are…

    Because we’re better than that…

    Because…our principles!

    Our principles. Yeah, right. Well, it was all a crock, a con, a grift by a bunch of displaced Beltway strivers furious that the marks – that’s us Normals – wised up to their scam, played the players, and sent them packing.

    Principles? You laughed uproariously at Sean Hannity’s confidential information being revealed for no good reason, just as you laughed at President Trump when federal agents marched into his lawyer’s office to steal privileged documents as part of the shameful collusion farce you’ve been applauding. Your principles didn’t stop you from supporting an effort to undo the results of an election that left you out in the cold.

    Principles that depend on who is asserting them aren’t principles. They are poses.

    You don’t hate Donald Trump because he feels he can ignore your glorious principles o’ convenience. You hate Donald Trump because he feels he can ignore you.

    No one’s fooled. And no one cares. Which ought to scare the hell out of you. Because when the liberals figure out that you have zero credibility with us real conservatives, you’ll stop being their useful idiot. You’ll just be a plain old idiot.

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2018/04/19/never-trumpers-whining-about-principles-was-just-an-act-n2472106?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=

    You really should read the whole thing!

      Ragspierre in reply to VaGentleman. | April 19, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      Yeh. Read the whole thing early this morning.

      Slick Kirtner is no conservative, and that bullshit rant was great evidence. Just another T-rumpian tribalist.

        VaGentleman in reply to Ragspierre. | April 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm

        rags rote: Slick Kirtner is no conservative

        By whose definition? And why do they get to set the definition?

          Ragspierre in reply to VaGentleman. | April 19, 2018 at 2:55 pm

          By mine. And I’m at least as qualified as the lying Slickster, who made the vast mistake of lying all through his screed.

          Conservatives believe in, as a basis, character and ideas.

          Slickter has outed himself previously as a BIG GOVERNMENT bully. Like your Great Goad Cheeto.

          VaGentleman in reply to VaGentleman. | April 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm

          rags rote: By mine. And I’m at least as qualified as the lying Slickster, who made the vast mistake of lying all through his screed.

          Then it’s just your personal opinion – not anything we have to be concerned with.

          Ragspierre in reply to VaGentleman. | April 19, 2018 at 3:17 pm

          Yep. Just like your personal opinions. Mine are based on reality though. Yours are predicated on lies.

          VaGentleman in reply to VaGentleman. | April 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

          No, rags. MINE are based on reality. YOURS are predicated on lies.

          Ragspierre in reply to VaGentleman. | April 19, 2018 at 3:29 pm

          Poor old lying T-rump sucking liar. I can name your various and manifold lies. You have to lie to claim any lie I’ve told.

    thetaqjr in reply to Ragspierre. | April 23, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    There are several features a law must exhibit to be welded into the supporting structure of the Constitution, to be honored in the Rule of Law. One feature is its being evenly applied. Another is that it be widely, not just accessible, but widely known.

    Judge Wood ruled against Hannity’s claim of anonymity. In the situation where he found himself, he didn’t know his communications with Mr. Cohen weren’t privileged. I didn’t know. Few of the laymen who write here knew his correspondence was underprivileged. Apparently, Judge Wood didn’t know either, because it took CNN’s counsel’s argument to alter her legal instinct to seal. I dont think that, had I asked to present a point of law to the judge, she would have recognized me.

    Rule of Law did not rule in this case. No one should tout it here, except as an abject failure for its being honored in its application.

    I’m not even sure what the law book meaning of compel is, but I believe, is respect of the Rule of
    Law, absent an absolutely compelling CNN argument for Mr. Hannity’s name publicly to have been revealed, Judge Wood should have put a that arguing mf in jail for disturbing my peace.

This whole thing stinks. This is a vindictive political prosecution by the swamp, at all levels bbn of government, willing to trash any and every constitutional right. Just remember the attorney client privilege Clinton was allowed in cheryl mills, not even an attorney. Glaring inconsistency of the highest order. Who with enough power in government, is gonna stand up for the rule of law and end this charade? It should be sessions but for some reason he’s AWOL too

I fail to seer how Wood could even consider not allowing Cohen to review his clients under seal.

What if Cohen’s client wa a college friend who wound up to be a mob accountant who asked him to work out a deal with the DoJ to turn states evidence? It would have sealed his death warrant.

And that’s not the only example.

I’ve seen several cases where trivial things were put under seal. The standard is supposed to be that there is a high bar to not sealing requested material.

At least now we know why Hannity’s name was considered relevant: because the media, which for some inexplicable reason, already had his name, bawled that the public had a right to know, and the judge agreed.

Setting aside the right to know, how did they know to ask for Hannity’s name? Until that point his name could only be found in evidence seized in the name of a grand jury investigation, and that evidence is secret to protect, well… people like Mr. Hannity from public ridicule and scorn due to even a casual relationship with a person under investigation and broad searches.

    Milhouse in reply to JBourque. | April 19, 2018 at 1:42 am

    How do you know they already had his name? Maybe they just convinced the judge that whoever it was, the client simply had no privacy interest that outweighed the so-called “public right to know” that the journalist industry spends so much time convincing people exists.

      I’m responding to reports that CNN had his name beforehand. If this is not true, that is unfortunate, but CNN (and the NYT) have been unhelpful by refusing to report on their own involvement in the legal proceedings.

      willow in reply to Milhouse. | April 19, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Who revealed Broidy’s name? There are leaks. What a gift to be able to have Hannity’s name revealed publicly in open court. Someone knew.

Mr. Mueller is not a bad man, nor is Mr. Comey.

Yes, they are.
They destroy people simply because they can, without making an honest effort to actually seek justice. And they show no remorse for their abuses.
That’s not how good, honest human beings go about.

“I have faith in the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office,” she said. “Their integrity is unimpeachable.”
This judgette is clearly unbiased.

The DOJ/FBI is corrupt. And likely an eight of the judiciary absolutely approves.

By the way, this is a distraction from the actual warrant, which is *supposed* to list the evidence being sought in relation to the crime being accused.

Since when (yes, I know) is this an excuse to go vacuum up every single scrap of paper or tape recording or file cabinet in the possession of the accused? Unbiased taint team or not, they took it *all* and are only now sorting through the mess.

Bucky Barkingham | April 19, 2018 at 6:49 am

How much “voluntary restraint” have we seen to date from Federal authorities in this whole Russia Collusion Witch Hunt?

Attorney-client privilege, who needs it. The left just out destroying America, as usual.

Buy ammo.

I cannot believe the people here who believe 100 percent that information in Cohen’s files that is not relevant to the matters at hand would be ignored and not read beyond the first couple of words. Nobody here, at least I believe, is accusing other commenters that they would engage in intrusive behavior. But we KNOW there have been leaks all over the place. McCabe leaked, didn’t he? Look how long it took to get that out.

I’m still at the stage of wondering why: 1.a standard letter to Cohen asking for certain information, materials, documents etc. wasn’t the first step, 2. and if that didn’t produce what was needed, why a subpoena wasn’t the second step. Then Cohen would have had the opportunity to review his own files and provide the requested materials, or make counter motions in front of an open court. Did the judge really imagine that Cohen was going to destroy all his files? And that he was so stupid not to have already destroyed them if he was of that bent? Anyone explain this?

    stevewhitemd in reply to RasMoyag. | April 19, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    They wanted to mau-mau Mr. Cohen in the same way the Wisconsin prosecutors and judges mau-mau’d their political opponents in the John Doe investigations. A request letter and a subpoena don’t get either you or your target on the evening news.

I think evidence will show that Michael Cohen has been bribing Trump naysayers forever and I could believe that Hannity’s abandonment of conservative principles in favor of constant Trump defending day-in and day-out might well have dollar-signs attached. He has been lying about Mueller and Rosenstein and he repeats and repeats the Trump mantra “no evidence of collusion.” WaPo writes:

Despite denials from the campaign and the White House, it is now clear that members of the Trump campaign interacted with Russians at least 32 times throughout the campaign. (There are at least 20 known meetings.) Knowledge of these communications went to the highest levels of Donald Trump’s operation — both Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort, two of the campaign’s three managers, were aware of it.

Robert Mueller’s investigators have figured out just what really happened at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016 when Don Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer and four people with Russian ties, in hopes of getting incriminating information on Hillary Clinton — and why, exactly, President Donald Trump tried to mislead the public about it.

    Barry in reply to gad-fly. | April 19, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    “I think…”

    No evidence of that exists.

    Mac45 in reply to gad-fly. | April 20, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Wow, project much, gad-fly?

    Your post brilliantly illustrates the problem in today’s society. People tend to base their opinions on feelings rather than cold hard facts.

    Fact #1: There is still NO evidence that Russia had anything to do with the hacking of the DNC server. Why? because the DNC never turned the server over to the FBI, for analysis, but relied upon “information” from CrowdStrike, whose owner is both a Russian and member of the Atlantic Council, a notoriously anti-Russian group. Now, the anti-Russia stance of the Atlantic Council might be well founded. But, they can hardly be called impartial. So, using an operation which is headed by a member of the Council causes credibility problems.

    Fact #2: As far the only information that we have as to the source of the material provided to Wikileaks is the suggestion by Julian Assange that Seth Rich provided the information. Now, one can take what Assange suggested with a grain of salt, as it has never been corroborated, except by one other person, who subsequently retracted it [following threats].

    Fact #3: Once again, there is NO corroboration that any of the meetings or contacts between anyone in the Trump campaign and any person thought to be representing interests in Russia were for the purpose of any collusion to illegally interfere in the election. The Trump Toiwer meeting sounds as though it was simply oppo research and, if anything was gained in that meeting, it does not appear to have been used by the Trump campaign. In fact, there is no evidence that this meeting involved the Russian state at all. On the other hand, the DNC, which was the Clinton campaign at the time [the campaign having gained operational control over the DNC through the use of loans to that organization] paid a British national for “opposition research” was was subsequently used against Trump, during the campaign.

    Fact #4: After a year of investigation, the SC has yet to produce a single iota of evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Manafort was heavily involved with pro-Russia interests in the Ukraine, but there was never any evidence produced that he had involvement with the Russian government. However, in the spring of 2013, John McCain met with members of the Syrian rebels [in Syria], several of whom have been identified as high ranking members of ISIS [including Al-Baghdadi Abu Bakr its leader], which at that time was still aligned with Al-Qaeda and had a group picture taken with them. It is interesting that this has NEVER been investigated by the US Government.

    The list goes on and on.

    So, who is more likely to be in bed with anti-American interests? Not Trump.

Am I the only person who finds the concept of a “taint team” to be rather lurid?

I sure wouldn’t want to be on the “taint team” for Hillary, Huma, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, Michelle O, etc.

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