“The FBI is in possession of a recording between President Donald Trump and his former personal attorney Michael Cohen in which the two men prior to the election discuss a payment to a former Playboy model who has alleged an affair with Trump, Rudy Giuliani and a source familiar with the matter told CNN Friday.
Cohen has other recordings of the President in his records that were seized by the FBI, said both a source with knowledge of Cohen’s tapes and Giuliani, who described the other recordings as mundane discussions. Another source with knowledge of the tape, however, said the conversation is not as Giuliani described and is not good for the President, though the source would not elaborate.”
Now here are some ethics matters that the news media would be obligated to tell you, if journalists were, you know, competent, objective, and fair:
- It is equivocally unethical for a lawyer to surreptitiously record a client without the client’s knowledge or consent. Always, no exceptions. It is usually unethical for a lawyer to surreptitiously record anyone without their knowledge or consent, even in states that permit non-lawyers to do it.
Such conduct is a direct violation of the universal legal ethics rule that prohibits a lawyer from engaging ” in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
- This fact is crucial to the story, and should be prominent in any discussion of it. I have not seen or heard this mentioned in any news reports.
Let me know if you do, please.
- The recording is also privileged, which means that it was information that a client provided to his lawyer in the course of seeking legal services or advice. As such, it cannot be used as evidence, unless the client, in this case, President Trump, consents. The client owns the privilege, not the lawyer who received the information, and not other lawyers the client may have.
I haven’t seen this critical information explained in any of the news reports either. Continue reading