Lawyer George Conway, the husband of top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, has responded to President Donald Trump’s claim that attorney-client privilege was “dead” after the FBI raided the offices of his personal lawyer Michael Cohen by providing the president with a link to a Justice Department webpage explaining why Cohen was not protected from a Monday no-knock FBI raid by attorney–client privilege.
Attorney–client privilege is dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 10, 2018
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) April 10, 2018
“There are occasions when effective law enforcement may require the issuance of a search warrant for the premises of an attorney who is a subject of an investigation, and who also is or may be engaged in the practice of law on behalf of clients,” the Justice Department’s website reads.
“In order to avoid impinging on valid attorney-client relationships, prosecutors are expected to take the least intrusive approach consistent with vigorous and effective law enforcement when evidence is sought from an attorney actively engaged in the practice of law.”
The website also lists a number of guidelines the government must follow when obtaining evidence under such circumstances, including receiving permission from either the attorney general or assistant attorney general.
George Conway has been a frequent critic of Trump on Twitter.
Former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, who oversaw the district where the FBI raid on Michael Cohen’s office took place before being fired by President Trump, mocked Trump for claiming the attorney-client privilege was “dead” by celebrating the “crime-fraud” exception to the privilege.
“Long live the crime-fraud exception,” Bharara tweeted Tuesday.
Long live the crime-fraud exception https://t.co/1nnqZegqfF
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) April 10, 2018
The crime-fraud exception means that a client’s communications with an attorney is not privileged if it “involves communications in furtherance of a contemplated or ongoing crime or fraud,” according to the American Bar Association.
Stormy Daniels’ lawyer also fired back at Trump’s tweet, writing on Twitter: “I use the attorney-client privilege. I know the attorney-client privilege. The attorney-client privilege is a friend of mine. And the attorney-client privilege is not dead. What is dead is using the privilege to hide illegal acts. And that has been dead for a long time. #basta”.
I use the attorney-client privilege. I know the attorney-client privilege. The attorney-client privilege is a friend of mine. And the attorney-client privilege is not dead. What is dead is using the privilege to hide illegal acts. And that has been dead for a long time. #basta
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 10, 2018