Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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How Michael Cohen Turned Against President Trump

“Are we going to meet Thursday or Friday?” Mr. Costello texted Mr. Giuliani on a Monday. Mr. Costello told prosecutors in a recent meeting that the pardon discussion had been initiated by Mr. Cohen and rejected by Mr. Giuliani. When Mr. Giuliani was hired by the president a few days later, Mr. Costello emailed Mr. Cohen: “I told you my relationship with Rudy which could be very very useful for you.” “Great news,” Mr. Cohen replied. The next day, after speaking to Mr. Giuliani by phone, Mr. Costello wrote in an email to Mr. Citron that the president’s lead lawyer had been “thrilled that I reached out to him about Cohen.” He added that Mr. Giuliani was “calling the president tonight.” Mr. Costello also shared his upbeat assessment with Mr. Cohen. Under an information-sharing agreement among the lawyers, Mr. Ryan had discussed with Mr. Giuliani that the Trumps had reimbursed Mr. Cohen for the hush money he paid to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels. As the president’s lead lawyer continued to publicly discuss the hush-money scheme in the days and weeks that followed, Mr. Cohen told associates that Mr. Giuliani was “blowing this whole thing.” ‘Keep on Punching’ Days after Mr. Giuliani appeared on Fox News, Mr. Costello confided to Mr. Citron, his partner, about his mounting concerns that Mr. Cohen was stringing them along. “Does Cohen really want a friend of Comey as his lawyer?” he asked in a text message. In the interview with The Times, Mr. Giuliani said that he was new to the issue of the legal fees at the time, having just been hired by Mr. Trump a couple of months earlier. “The idea that the Trump Organization should have paid his legal fees and expenses is a total crock.” Distrust between the two sides only grew in June when the comedian Tom Arnold tweeted a selfie with Mr. Cohen and later claimed that they were teaming up to take down the president. Mr. Davis said that he asked Mr. Cohen at the time why he wanted to hire him.

Trump Lawyer Urges Treasury Not to Release His Tax Returns

Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times WASHINGTON — President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday urged the Treasury Department not to hand over Mr. Trump’s tax returns to House Democrats, warning that releasing the documents to lawmakers he accused of having a “radical view of unchecked congressional power” would turn the Internal Revenue Service into a political weapon. Mr. Neal on Saturday gave the Internal Revenue Service until April 23 to provide him with the tax returns after Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said last week that he could not meet an earlier deadline because he needed to study the lawfulness of the request. Mr. Neal used an obscure provision of the tax code to request the returns, which he said his committee needs in order to evaluate the policy of automatic audits of presidential tax returns. Mr. Neal argued in his letter on Saturday that the administration has no authority to question how the committee would handle the information or the validity of its legislative purpose. Mr. Trump’s lawyer, William S. Consovoy, said on Monday that the legal rationale behind Mr. Neal’s dismissal of the Treasury Department’s concerns was wrong. But Mr. Consovoy, echoing an argument that Trump administration officials have made privately, said that in this case the intent of the law is more important than the letter of the law. “Congress’s motives do matter under the Constitution,” Mr. Consovoy wrote, arguing that the request for Mr. Trump’s tax information does not serve any legislative purpose. “This isn’t an issue just about the president’s tax returns and congressional oversight,” Mr. Mnuchin said on the Fox Business Network on Monday. “This is an issue about protecting Americans.” He added: “I want to make sure that the I.R.S. was weaponized.”

Lawyer Michael Avenatti charged

Attorney Mark Geragos is the unnamed co-conspirator in the Avenatti criminal complaint Attorney Mark Geragos is the unnamed co-conspirator referred to in the Southern District of New York's criminal complaint against Michael Avenatti, a source familiar confirms to CNN. Nike says it "will not be extorted" Nike released a statement today after prosecutors in New York announced charges against attorney Michael Avenatti for attempting to extort more than $20 million from the company. When Nike became aware of this matter, Nike immediately reported it to federal prosecutors. When Mr. Avenatti attempted to extort Nike over this matter, Nike with the assistance of outside counsel at Boies Schiller Flexner, aided the investigation. Nike firmly believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors.” Avenatti's alleged scheme against Nike was "an old-fashioned shakedown," US attorney says Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, laid out the timeline of attorney Michael Avenatti's alleged extortion scheme, which Berman said played out over a course of less than a week. The FBI monitored and recorded Avenatti's threats against Nike The Southern District of New York tweeted a timeline of the Avenatti case on Monday afternoon, outlining the events from March 19 to 21. According to the timeline, Avenatti made the initial threats to Nike on March 19. Shortly afterward, Nike informed federal prosecutors in New York of the threats. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have charged Avenatti for attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike. Meanwhile, prosecutors in California charged him for wire and bank fraud.

China Politics and YOUR Business

With all that is going on with China’s economy and with its trade discussions with the United States and with US tariffs and with the EU’s mounting frustration with China, our China lawyers are finding themselves more often engaged in “big picture” discussions with our clients than ever before. What are you seeing in China? We are well-trained and well-positioned to answer some of these, such as the one regarding China’s new laws and we write about those. See China’s New Foreign Investment Law and Forced Technology Transfer: Same As it Ever Was and China Approves New Foreign Investment Law to Level Playing Field for Foreign Companies. Our client had read the report, found it exceedingly helpful, and thought we too would benefit from it. Yesterday, my law firm had its bi-weekly “international team” meeting. One of the things I love discussing at these meetings is what I call the 360 nature of our practice and in our meeting yesterday I talked of how the EU lead at a multinational company had contacted us because he had heard of our having opened a Madrid office and he was based right outside Madrid. I just assumed from this that he was seeking Spain legal help, but it turned out he wanted to work with our Spain lawyers on a China matter. The Special Report is 20 pages, but Ms. Minehardt nicely summarizes it on APCO’s blog here. Stability is the government’s top priority amid the continuation of China’s economic slowdown.

DOJ reached agreement with Clinton lawyers to block FBI access to Clinton Foundation emails,...

The Justice Department "negotiated" an agreement with Hillary Clinton's legal team that ensured the FBI did not have access to emails on her private servers relating to the Clinton Foundation, former FBI special agent Peter Strzok testified during a closed-door appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last summer, according to a newly released transcript. Under questioning from Judiciary Committee General Counsel Zachary Somers, Strzok acknowledged that Clinton's private personal email servers contained a mixture of emails related to the Clinton Foundation, her work as secretary of state and other matters. "Were you given access to [Clinton Foundation-related] emails as part of the investigation?" "My recollection is that the access to those emails were based on consent that was negotiated between the Department of Justice attorneys and counsel for Clinton." Strzok did not elaborate on whether prosecutors made any effort to secure a search warrant, which could have delineated precisely what agents could and could not search. But Strzok later said that agents had access to the "entire universe" of information on the servers when using search terms to probe their contents. The DOJ's goal, Chaffetz said, was to "make sure they hear no evil, see no evil -- they had no interest in pursuing the truth." The Clinton Foundation did not respond to Fox News' request for comment. Strzok, who was fired from the bureau after months of scrutiny regarding anti-Trump text messages between him and Page, confirmed he was involved in an extramarital affair when asked about it during his interview before the committee on June 27, 2018. But Strzok was also asked by Art Baker, the GOP investigative counsel for the committee, whether that affair could have made him "vulnerable to potential recruitment" by "hostile intelligence service[s]."

Former top FBI lawyer: 2 Trump cabinet officials were ‘ready to support’ 25th Amendment...

Former top FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, claiming he was told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” such an effort. “I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he -- this was what was related to me -- that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees. One way that could happen is if a majority of the president’s Cabinet says the president is incapable of discharging his duties. Fox News requested further comment from the parties involved. “As the deputy attorney general previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.” During his testimony, Baker acknowledged he was not directly involved in the May 2017 discussions but testified over a two-day period in October that McCabe and Page came to him contemporaneously after meeting with Rosenstein for input in the days after Comey was fired by the president. “I had the impression that the deputy attorney general had already discussed this with two members in the president’s Cabinet and that they were…onboard with this concept already,” Baker said. During the closed-door hearing, the former FBI lawyer told lawmakers he could not say whether Rosenstein was taking the initiative to seek out Cabinet members: Question: “Do you know what direction that went? On Thursday, the top Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees called for McCabe and Rosenstein to testify before their respective panels, following McCabe's comments about these discussions. Also during the testimony, Moyer said the chances of securing a 2016 surveillance warrant for a Trump campaign aide were only “50/50” without the controversial anti-Trump “dossier,” according to transcripts confirmed by Fox News. Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

FBI scrambled to respond to Hillary Clinton lawyer amid Weiner laptop review, newly released...

The trove of documents turned over by the FBI, in response to a lawsuit by the transparency group Judicial Watch, also included discussions by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page concerning a potential quid pro quo between the State Department and the FBI -- in which the FBI would agree to effectively hide the fact that a Clinton email was classified in exchange for more legal attache positions that would benefit the FBI abroad, and allow them to send more agents to countries where the FBI's access is ordinarily restricted. Despite claims by top FBI officials, including Strzok, several of those emails were determined to contain classified information. "I received the email below from David Kendall and I called him back," then-FBI General Counsel James Baker wrote to the agency's top brass, including Comey, Page and Strzok, in an email. However, at least 18 classified emails sent from Abedin's account were found by the FBI on the Weiner laptop. “It is big news that, just days before the presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer pressured the top lawyer for the FBI on the infamous Weiner laptop emails,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. When will the Justice Department and FBI finally do an honest investigation of the Clinton email scandal?” Separately, another email from Page, apparently sent in response to a Judicial Watch lawsuit, discussed an apparent attempt by the State Department to pressure the FBI to downgrade the classification level of a Clinton email. Fox News has previously reported, citing FBI documents, that a senior State Department official proposed a quid pro quo to convince the FBI to strip the classification on an email from Clinton’s server – and repeatedly tried to “influence” the bureau’s decision when his offer was denied, even taking his plea up the chain of command. "Prior to the initiation of the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server, the FBI was asked to review and make classification determinations on FBI emails and information which were being produced by the State Department pursuant to FOIA [a Freedom of Information Act request]. A senior State Department official requested the FBI re-review that email to determine whether it was in fact classified or whether it might be protected from release under a different FOIA exemption," the FBI said. "The FBI official subsequently told the senior State official that the email was appropriately classified at the Secret level and that the FBI would not change the classification of the email.

Paul’s lawyers want his political views excluded from trial

Paul suffered multiple broken ribs in the 2017 attack, and the neighbor, Rene Boucher, pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress. Paul sued Boucher, and a jury trial set for Jan. 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, will determine the amount of damages the senator can receive. Paul's legal team says his political beliefs are "irrelevant" to the trial, noting Boucher has said the attack had nothing to do with politics. Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, said Friday he agrees that Paul's political views are irrelevant to the trial. Paul, who ran for president in 2016 and is now in his second Senate term, rose to political prominence as a favorite of tea party supporters. Also in their motion, the senator's lawyers said the condition of Paul's yard before the attack should also be excluded, arguing that it "has no bearing upon the damages he is entitled to receive." Baker said he will oppose that request because yard conditions at Paul's house are "what this has always been about." His lawyers said a biomechanics expert is prepared to testify that Paul's injuries were similar to those resulting from a 25 mph (40 kph) car crash. Boucher was sentenced to 30 days in prison for the attack. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

Study: Most Innocent People Need to Hire Thirty-Five Lawyers at Some Point

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Most people who are innocent of any crimes will still need to hire thirty-five lawyers at some point, a new study shows. According to the study, commissioned by the University of Minnesota Law School, thirty-five is the “bare minimum” number of lawyers that an innocent person should have on retainer in the event that he or she becomes the subject of an entirely unjustified criminal investigation. “We found that many innocent people are going through life without taking the basic precaution of hiring thirty-five lawyers,” Professor Davis Logsdon, who supervised the study, said. “They are flirting with disaster.” “An innocent person who has absolutely nothing to hide should do everything in his or her power to avoid answering questions from investigators,” he said. “Thirty-five lawyers can really help you do that.” Additionally, Logsdon noted, hiring nearly three dozen lawyers is invaluable because of the powerful statement it makes. “Nothing says ‘I’m innocent’ like hiring thirty-five lawyers,” he said. Although some innocent people may balk at the unwieldy number of lawyers that the study recommends, Logsdon emphasized that thirty-five lawyers provide necessary protection against unforeseen legal complications. “If, for example, one of your lawyers goes to prison, you will still have thirty-four,” he said. Logsdon acknowledged that, although every innocent person should definitely hire thirty-five lawyers, such legal help does not come cheap. “Legal bills for thirty-five lawyers can be very expensive, unless you’re a person who doesn’t pay his bills,” he said.

Bill Nelson lawyer: Unopened ballots exceed Rick Scott victory margin

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s legal team says the number of uncounted vote-by-mail ballots exceeded incoming Sen. Rick Scott’s margin of victory when he defeated the incumbent in November. “Remember when we thought 6,670 mail ballots in Florida were rejected due to failure by the post office to deliver them in time to the counties?” said Nelson attorney Marc Elias on social media. “Well, we now know it was 6,882 ballots. Nelson lost by 10,033 votes.” But Jessica Furst Johnson, National Republican Senate Committee counsel, said Scott’s margin of victory remained insurmountable. Completely irresponsible to drag FL through a recount under those circumstances.” Nelson conceded the election on Nov. 18, 12 days after the election and after filing several lawsuits looking for more votes to be counted. Elias, who represented Democrats including former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and former Washington Gov. But a judge denied Nelson’s request to count ballots that arrived after Election Day but were postmarked before that time. But a number of election supervisors in the wake of three statewide recounts this year said mail channels have increasingly proven unreliable. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, previously told Florida Politics the issue should be discussed as lawmakers revisit election reform this year. Ultimately, Scott’s narrow 10,033-vote margin of victory represented just 0.14 percent of the nearly 8.2 million votes cast and counted.