By Stuart J. Moskovitz, Esq.
Even if you don’t like Trump….
I’ve posted this in Monmouth County News because similar actions have happened not just in Washington, but right out of Red Bank and concerns everyone in this County who believes that a free society should remain so.
We are a divided country. We are a polarized country. That polarization is posing one of the most serious internal dangers to our nation and our notions of democracy.
Like every other attorney, I have told my clients that whatever they tell me is absolutely privileged under the doctrine of attorney-client privilege. That doctrine exists in every state. It exists in the federal system. It is close to sacrosanct. There are extremely few exceptions and they require overcoming the highest burdens imaginable to breach.
When the FBI grabbed all of Michael Cohen’s files, they sent a dangerous message that every LIBERAL, not just Conservative, should fear. You see, you might be overjoyed at the fact that Trump’s lawyer had his Trump files confiscated. After all, anything that can bring down Trump is worth it, regardless of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, the First Amendment, or any of the other liberties we have taken for granted.
But think about this when you’ve stopped popping the champagne corks.
The FBI didn’t just take Cohen’s Trump files, they took each and every file that Cohen had not only for Trump but for every one of his other clients.
So, let’s say you hired a lawyer any time in the last five or ten years and told him or her some private matters of which you normally would not have spoken if it weren’t for attorney-client privilege. You told him or her those things because you believed they would be as confidential as a confessional.
Then you find out that your lawyer was representing someone else being investigated by the FBI. You find out the FBI thinks your lawyer was cooperating in a criminal endeavor, or at least made that case to a federal judge in order to obtain your lawyer’s files. How do you feel about the FBI having a file with all of your personal confidential admissions? How do you think Michael Cohen’s OTHER innocent clients feel?
Still popping those champagne bottles?
Have you said anything in confidence to any lawyer who may at one time or another have represented Jared Kushner, whether or not it involved his properties in Long Branch? Still popping champagne corks?
At some point, we as a nation must put the welfare of the nation, the importance of our liberties ahead of partisan zealousness. At some point we as a nation must recognize that we have standards, principles, that we cannot sacrifice just because we believe someone else has done so.
At some point, we need to protect ourselves not only from those politicians and bureaucrats we hate, but those we think are on our side. Enemy of my enemy does not apply, should not apply, when we are considering the erosion of the fundamental rights we as Americans have come to take for granted. At some point, we must come together as a nation and recognize our mutual priorities.