Published: Sun, July 22, 2018

Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

Trump lashes ex-lawyer, says taping of client 'perhaps illegal'

He then said "even more inconceivable... that a lawyer would tape a client... totally unheard of and perhaps illegal".

Cohen had taped a conversation two months before the 2016 presidential election with Trump concerning payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with the Republican nominee.

Trump complained on Saturday via Twitter that an attorney recording a client conversation is "inconceivable," but NY law requires only one party to consent to any recordings of a conversation.

Mr Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told the Times that Mr Trump had discussed the payments with Mr Cohen on the tape but that the payments were ultimately never made. The seized recording, according to sources familiar with the investigation, includes a two-minute, in-person conversation between Cohen and Trump, then a candidate for president, talking about a plan allegedly devised by Cohen to prevent McDougal from publicly disclosing claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006.

Friday's reports raised questions about why Trump's campaign denied knowledge of the deal between McDougal and American Media when it became public, and they fanned speculation about how much damage Cohen might be able to inflict on the president.

Trump tweeted on Saturday, lamenting how "inconceivable" it is that a lawyer would record a client without permission and suggesting that it's "perhaps illegal" to do so.

Two people familiar with the conversation said Cohen was suggesting Trump buy the rights from AMI. He also said that Trump told Cohen that any payment should be by check, not cash, so it could be documented properly.

"All of them should be released for the benefit of the American public", he told CNN.

Davis, in his Saturday tweet, took a specific poke at Giuliani: "Rudy claims the tape is "exculpatory". It's not clear, however, whether the U.S. attorney's office would be willing to grant Cohen such a deal. It effectively gives prosecutors the ability to use the recording if they find it relevant to their criminal investigation of Cohen.

Giuliani said the conversation involved reimbursing the parent company of the National Enquirer tabloid for McDougal's story rights.

Cohen had made a practice of recording telephone conversations, unbeknownst to those with whom he was speaking. "Any attempt at spin cannot change what is on the tape".

The ethics committee of the New York City Bar Association issued an opinion in 2003 that a lawyer may tape a conversation without disclosing so "if the lawyer has a reasonable basis for believing that disclosure of the taping would impair pursuit of a generally accepted societal good".

In a March interview with CNN, McDougal said she had a 10-month affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007, beginning in the year after Trump married Melania.

The development was first reported Friday by The New York Times.

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