Federal Agents Raid Law Office of Trump Attorney
Federal agents raided Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s office and seized material related to an investigation. The federal agents’ raid raises questions of attorney-client privilege for New Jersey criminal defense attorneys. Attorney-Client privilege applies to any information discussed between a lawyer and his or her client that is relevant to a case . The privilege belongs to the client, not the lawyer. As a result of the attorney-client privilege, a lawyer cannot disclose or be compelled to disclose such discussions to third parties.
Courts have declared that the fact of an attorney-client relationship itself need not always remain privileged information (National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 384 F.2d 316 [5th Cir. 1967]); the privilege may be upheld, however, if the very existence of an attorney-client relationship could prove to be incriminating to the client (In re Michaelson, 511 F.2d 882 [9th Cir. 1975], cert. denied, 421 U.S. 978, 95 S. Ct. 1979, 44 L. Ed. 2d 469 ). The attorney-client privilege does not always protect the client’s name or the amount paid to an attorney (Wirtzv. Fowler, 372 F.2d 315 [5th Cir. 1966]). Further, the attorney’s perception of the client’s mental competency will not always be protected (United States v. Kendrick, 331 F.2d 110 [4th Cir. 1964] [holding that attorney’s testimony that client was responsive, and logical in conversation and reasoning, and that he understood that the proceedings, did not address confidential matters]).
In addition, the crime-fraud exception can render the privilege moot when communications between an attorney and client are themselves used to further a crime or fraud. In Clark v. United States, the Supreme Court stated that “A client who consults an attorney for advice that will serve him in the commission of a fraud will have no help from the law. He must let the truth be told.” The crime-fraud exception also requires that the crime or fraud discussed between client and attorney be carried out in order to be triggered.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense and would like to speak with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to explore your legal options, you can reach the Sloan Law Firm at: (908) 358-2938.
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