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Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

Attorney-Client Privilege? FBI’s Raid of President Trump’s Personal Lawyer’s Office

Posted on: April 10th, 2018

By: Gregory T. Fayard

On April 9, 2018, federal agents raided the law office of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney. The purpose of the raid purportedly concerned a payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels related to an alleged 2006 affair she had with Donald Trump in exchange for her silence. The FBI’s aggressive move certainly raised eyebrows among legal ethicists. Wouldn’t the FBI be prevented from reviewing a lawyer’s files based on the sacrosanct attorney-client privilege? After all, the attorney-client privilege is intended to allow lawyers to give honest legal advice without worrying about incriminating a client.

Not necessarily. To obtain a federal search warrant of an attorney’s office, high-level approval within the Justice Department must be obtained and special DOJ guidelines must be followed when the search target is an attorney. The warrant was also reviewed and approved by a federal judge.  Further, attorney client communications may be discovered under the rarely used and hard to meet “crime-fraud” exception to the privilege. That is, a client cannot hide evidence of a crime by relying on the attorney-client shield.  The concern for the Justice Department is whether any evidence from the raid will be admissible if “tainted” by the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” To deal with spoliation through “tainted” evidence, the Justice Department has used  “taint teams”—government attorneys who are segregated from FBI agents and prosecutors involved in the investigation. (“Taint Teams and the Attorney-Client Privilege,” Loren E. Weiss, Gregory S. Osborne, December 2015) Taint teams are charged with sifting through seized files and determining what prosecutors can and can’t use. (Id.)

In rare cases, a judge could appoint an independent special master to review the files or examine seized documents him or herself.  (United States v. Taylor (D. Me. 2011) 764 F.Supp.2d 230.)  Further, prosecutors can seize evidence of criminal activity that lies beyond the scope of a warrant if it is in plain view, like drugs, guns or other contraband—not likely at issue here.

In any event, Mr. Cohen will certainly contest the FBI raid as an overreach, including why the Justice Department did not issue a subpoena instead of a search warrant. A subpoena would give Mr. Cohen time to protect client confidences and seek court guidance on the attorney-client issues. While the FBI seems to be pushing the envelope as to the bounds of the attorney-client privilege, others have critiqued the raid as going beyond the scope of Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation into collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Greg Fayard at [email protected].

Presidential Proclamation on Expanded Travel Ban

Posted on: September 29th, 2017

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

The President announced a revised travel ban on September 24, 2017. The new travel ban removes Sudan from the list but adds 3 additional countries to the list. Each designated Country has specific restrictions and they are as follows:

1. Chad – Entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (b-1/B-2) visas is suspended.
2. Iran – Entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry of nationals of Iran under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitors (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
3. Libya – Entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B- 2) visas, is suspended.
4. North Korea – Entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
5. Somalia – Entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
6. Syria – Entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
7. Venezuela – entry into the United States of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B- 2) visas is suspended.
8. Yemen – entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B- 2) visas, is suspended.

Also, Secretary of Homeland Security recommended that nationals of Iraq who seek to enter the United States be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States.

The suspension of entry does not apply to:

1. Any individual who already is a lawful permanent resident of the United States (green card holder).
2. Any foreign national who was admitted or paroled into the United States on or after the effective date of this new Order.
3. Any foreign national who has a document other than a visa that allows travel to the United States and seek admission, valid on effective date or after the date of this Order, such as an Advance Parole Document.
4. Any dual national of a country designated when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country.
5. Any foreign national traveling on diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 visas.
6. Any foreign national been granted asylum, any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States, or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection on the Convention Against torture.

The indefinite bans immediately impact nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen with no bona fide relationship to a U.S. person or entity, and will take effect for all other impacted nationals of those countries, as well as nationals of Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, on October 18, 2017.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Layli Eskandari Deal of the law firm of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].