Alan Dershowitz warned that the FBI raid of the office of longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen will have a chilling effect on lawyer-client relations.
The Harvard law professor cautioned that the federal search and seizure of Cohen’s property on Monday marked a “dangerous day” for the future.
“This may be an attempt to squeeze Cohen — he’s the lawyer, he’s the guy who knows all of the facts about Donald Trump — to get him to turn against his client,” Dershowitz told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday. “This is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations.”
The Manhattan offices of the president’s lawyer, who paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election, were stormed by the FBI Monday after obtaining a warrant based on a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The raid was executed, and various records seized, even though the raid was not directly related to Mueller’s Russia probe of alleged Russian collusion.
“I deal with clients all the time. I tell them on my word of honor that what you tell me is sacrosanct,” Dershowitz told Hannity.
“And now they say, just based on probable cause…they can burst into the office, grab all of the computers, and then give it to another FBI agent and say, ‘you’re the firewall, we want you now to read all of these confidential communications [and] tell us which ones we can get and which ones we can’t get,’” he continued.
The Constitutional and criminal law scholar noted that Cohen, who has up until now cooperated with the Mueller-led probe, was rewarded for that cooperation with an unwelcome visit from federal agents.
“Trump’s lawyers cooperated completely. Cohen cooperated completely, and what did they get for it? A raid on the office with everything being taken,” Dershowitz said. “So this sends a powerful message that cooperation is not going to be rewarded by Mueller.”
Dershowitz argued that defenders of civil liberties would be up in arms if Hillary Clinton’s lawyers had been treated the same way as Trump’s personal attorney.
“If this were Hillary Clinton, the ACLU would be on every TV station in America jumping up and down,” Dershowitz said, referring to the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling,” he added.