Friday, April 13, 2018

Trump Allies Worry That Michael Cohen Kept Tapes

The shitshow that is the Trump/Pence regime seemingly knows no limits.  Indeed, the regime has become a real life reality show with one insane revelation following the next. It would almost be entertaining but for the severe menace that Trump poses to American democracy and the peace and security of the nation and the world.  The latest shoe to drop - which would explains why Trump is so enraged - is the specter that Trump consigliere Michael Cohen may have kept tapes of his conversations and phone calls.   If the tapes included efforts to commit crimes or fraud, there would be no attorney-client privilege would not apply.  Again, a possible explanation as to why Trump is acting so anxious and out of control.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the possibility of Cohen's possession of tapes which might now be in the hands of federal prosecutors.   Here are article highlights:
President Trump’s personal attorney Michael D. Cohen sometimes taped conversations with associates, according to three people familiar with his practice, and allies of [Trump] the president are worried that the recordings were seized by federal investigators in a raid of Cohen’s office and residences this week.
Cohen, who served for a decade as a lawyer at the Trump Organization and is a close confidant of Trump, was known to store the conversations using digital files and then replay them for colleagues, according to people who have interacted with him.
“We heard he had some proclivity to make tapes,” said one Trump adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. “Now we are wondering, who did he tape? Did he store those someplace where they were actually seized? . . . Did they find his recordings?” 
It is unknown whether Cohen taped conversations between himself and Trump. But two people familiar with Cohen’s practices said he recorded both business and political conversations. One associate said Trump knew of Cohen’s practice because the attorney would often play him recordings Cohen had made of his conversations with other top Trump advisers.
“It was his standard practice to do it,” this person said. 
Legal experts said Cohen’s taped conversations would be viewed by prosecutors as highly valuable.  “If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape,” said Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor.
Such recordings “would be considered a gold mine,” said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who specializes in legal ethics.
“The significance is 9.5 to 10 on a 10-point scale,” he added, noting that investigators know “that when people speak on the phone, they are not guarded. They don’t imagine that the conversation will surface.”  [T]he privilege accorded to attorney-client communications does not apply if the conversation was conducted to further commission of a crime or fraud.
Cohen wanted his business calls on tape so he could use them later as leverage, one person said. Cohen frequently noted that under New York law, only one party had to consent to the taping of a conversation, this person added.
During the 2016 race, Cohen — who did not have a formal role on the campaign — had a reputation among campaign staff as someone to avoid, in part because he was believed to be secretly taping conversations.
Frankly, if Cohen taped his conversations with Trump, I don't blame him.  He probably did it for self-defense if Trump ever turned on him.  And if he did make tapes, I hope the feds have all of them now. :)

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