- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Legal icon Alan Dershowitz said the American Civil Liberties Union’s reaction to FBI raids on President Trump’s personal attorney would be very different if the situation applied to Hillary Clinton.

The ACLU’s Twitter feed was mum on this week regarding the FBI’s decision to raid the office and home of attorney Michael Cohen.

Mr. Dershowitz noted the “deafening silence” during a Fox News appearance before comparing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation to the FBI’s work on Mrs. Clinton’s infamous email server.

“This is a very dangerous day today for lawyer-client relations,” the Harvard Law School professor emeritus told Fox’s Sean Hannity on Monday evening. “I deal with clients all the time. I tell them on my word of honor that what you tell me is sacrosanct. And now they say just based on probable cause even though there was cooperation with Cohen, they can burst into the office, grab all the computers and then give it to another FBI agent and say you are the firewall. We want you now to read all these confidential communications. Tell us which ones we can get and which ones we can’t get.”

“You know, if this were the shoe on the other foot — if this were Hillary Clinton being investigated and they went into her lawyer’s office — the ACLU would be on every television station in America jumping up and down,” he continued. “The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling.”

For his part, Mr. Dershowitz has publicly warned against overreaching independent counsels since at least as far back as his 1982 book “The Best Defense.”

SEE ALSO: Rand Paul warns gloating Trump critics: Mueller’s ‘great overstep’ a danger to all Americans

A number of Mrs. Clinton’s top aides, including Cheryl Mills, reached immunity deals with the Justice Department as agents investigated the former secretary of state’s handing of government documents.

The ACLU’s official Twitter account said nothing in its own voice Tuesday. However, it did retweet the individual account of David Cole, its national legal director, in which he responded to Mr. Trump’s claim that “attorney-client privilege is dead.”

“There’s a crime-fraud exception to the privilege, Mr. President,” Mr. Cole wrote Tuesday. “Can’t abuse privilege to commit crime.”

“We don’t know all the reasons and circumstances for the FBI search of Cohen’s office and home,” Mr. Cole added in a blog post. “News reports suggest that the focus is on Cohen’s payments to two women, adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal to suppress their stories of affairs with Donald Trump, and that these payments may have been illegal. But what is clear is that prosecutors had to overcome high hurdles to obtain the search warrant. That the warrant was issued is not a sign that the attorney-client privilege is dead. It is, on the contrary, a sign that the rule of law is alive.”

Mr. Dershowitz told Fox that from his perspective, the raids are indicative of “overzealous prosecutors” who are obsessed with bringing down their target — the president.

“If I were the president, I would at least seriously consider going to court tomorrow, seeking to have a judge get a hold of all the lawyer-client material, take it away from the prosecutor, take it away from the FBI. Don’t let an FBI agent look at any of them,” the lawyer said. “Have the judge go through it and have the judge make a determination as to whether there is anything in there that is lawyer-client privilege.”

Sources told The New York Times on Tuesday that agents are looking for information regarding a nondisclosure agreement with Stormy Daniels, the porn star who received a $130,000 payment from Mr. Cohen prior to the 2016 election.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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