Renown liberal legal scholar Alan Dershowitz lambasted the American Civil Liberties Union for coming out in support of the raid of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
The former ACLU board member also predicted the FBI will leak constitutionally protected, attorney-client privileged information to the press, which it obtained during the Monday raid of Cohen’s offices and residence, following a referral by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The New York Times reported the FBI seized emails, tax documents and records, some of which are related to Cohen’s $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days before the November 2016 presidential election. A source told the paper the parameters of documents identified in a search warrant went back years.
“There is something very wrong with that,” Dershowitz told Fox News. “(T)hey seize everything and a government agent reads every one of the material that is also privileged.”
“I don’t think any American would really like that,” he added. “And the ACLU has come out in support of this raid. The ACLU! They’re supposed to be the organization that stands up for civil liberties.
“They’re saying there’s nothing wrong, and they don’t know the facts and out there supporting it. Shame on the ACLU. I used to be on its national board when it was actually a civil liberties organization — not a political get-Trump organization.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 12, 2018
Dershowitz also voiced his doubts that the FBI would safeguard Trump’s information, given its record of late with regard to the press.
The attorney pointed to the FBI’s use of a “taint team” to review all the information seized and decide if it is related to Mueller’s Russia investigation or other potential criminal activity.
“But a taint team is just other FBI agents and prosecutors listening to confidential material and then saying, ‘Oh we promise we won’t leak it,’” he said. “Yeah, I mean I really trust that. FBI agents and prosecutors hearing the president talk and not leaking it? Come on.”
In an Op-Ed for Fox News, Dershowitz went into further detail about constitutionally protected liberties breached in the raid.
“(T)he Fourth and Sixth Amendments … prohibit government officials from in any way intruding on the privacy of lawyer-client confidential rights of citizens,” he wrote.
“In other words, if the government improperly seizes private or privileged material, the violation has already occurred, even if the government never uses the material from the person from whom it was seized,” he added. “The very fact that this material is seen or read by a government official constitutes a core violation.”
Dershowitz went on to note the recourse for the defendant, in this case Trump or Cohen, can be to sue for damages or have any material unlawfully obtained excluded from evidence in a legal proceedings.
However, none of these are really remedies for the breach of the American citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.
As reported by The Western Journal, Dershowitz argued on Monday following the raid that Mueller’s primary goal is not to criminally prosecute Trump, but to gather evidence that can be used by Congress to impeach him.
“This may be an attempt to squeeze Cohen. He’s the lawyer. He’s the guy who knows all the facts about Donald Trump,” Dershowitz said. “And to get him to turn against his client. This is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations.”
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