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Alina Habba: Attorney-Client Privilege ‘Doesn’t Stand’ For Trump

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Former President Donald Trump’s attorney-spokeswoman once again pointed out the hypocrisy surrounding her boss’s prosecution in his ‘hush money’ trial in Manhattan.

Alina Habba was discussing testimony by Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, where he admitted to secretly recording his then-boss during a conversation regarding an alleged hush money payment. Such discussions between attorneys and their clients are supposed to be privileged and private, but Cohen’s testimony before the court wasn’t challenged, at least not yet.

“Last time I checked, there’s something called attorney-client privilege. Obviously, you know, that doesn’t stand if you’re going against Donald Trump because none of the rules stand if you’re going against Donald Trump in a political campaign where he is winning and they have no other way to win but to take him down with illegal and politically motivated lawfare,” Habba told Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“You said it best, Sean. Hillary Clinton did something far worse, and the [Federal Election Commission] looked at it, they examined it, and what did they do? They gave her a slap on the wrist, she paid I think eight grand for hiding the dirty dossier, the Russian hoax against Donald Trump, and nobody cared about anything,” Habba continued.

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“She wasn’t dragged into court. Neither was Bill Clinton in the sock drawer case, and the list goes on and on and on. But if you are Donald Trump, you’re going to be gagged unconstitutionally so that you can’t even discuss testimony of people that are calling you a liar, and you can’t defend yourself. Can I tell you, Sean, I have never seen anything worse than what I saw today. I’m not going to get into the testimony of somebody under oath on a witness stand, but I think if you read the news, it speaks for itself,” she added.

WATCH:

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett also lashed out at Cohen in a column published early Tuesday following Cohen’s admission in court.

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“Cohen readily confessed that he often lied and bullied people. He also deceived his own client, Trump, by secretly recording him shortly before the 2016 election,” he wrote. “Without permission, Cohen then shared it with the publisher of the National Enquirer.  It was a sleazy maneuver that would merit disbarment for breaching the attorney-client privilege.”

He added:

When the recording was played in court it seemed to help, not hurt, the defense.  Cohen refers cryptically to payments made to kill a story, which is not a crime. Trump appears somewhat in the dark and is heard asking, “What financing?” Cohen assured him that he was taking care of everything.  His boss didn’t need to know the details. “I’ve got it…I’m on it,” said Cohen. 

It is bewildering why the prosecution ventured there, except to smear Trump with the illusion of some amorphous wrongdoing.  It was utterly irrelevant since the matter dealt with former Playboy model Karen McDougal who was never called as a prosecution witness and is unconnected to the charges. Trump refused to pay her money over a purported affair that he denies.

“Cohen then moved on to his tangle with ex-porn star Stormy Daniels, who was intensifying her apparent extortion scheme as voters were soon heading to the polls.  Cohen admitted that it was his idea to pay $130,000 for her silence accompanied by a lawful non-disclosure agreement.  As Trump’s lawyer, Cohen handled the negotiated contract which was later booked as ‘legal expenses’ because that is what they were,” he wrote.

“So, where exactly is the original fraud that forms the basis for the 34 misdemeanor charges alleged by the prosecution? Nowhere.”

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