by Andy Wright, Associate Professor, Savannah Law School
The American political and legal scenes continue to be roiled by the FBI’s execution of a search warrant on Donald J. Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s legal office and residential hotel room. In response, President Trump tweeted “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” An FBI raid of an attorney’s office raises sticky issues related to the attorney-client privilege and litigation work product—all the more magnified in the political glare associated with one of the President’s longtime attorneys. However, the privilege has never applied to communications furthering ongoing or future criminal conduct, or business conversations unrelated to the provision of legal advice. Further, as Sara Kropf explains, the Department of Justice has exacting procedures—apparently followed in this case—designed to protect client equities in validly privileged materials. For these reasons, President Trump’s and Mr. Cohen’s attorneys are unlikely to prevail in their effort to obtain exclusive privilege review in the aftermath of the raid.