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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Very Strange If True

According to a lawyer who represents President Trump, the FBI raid on Paul Manaforts home resulted in the FBI taking documents that had been prepared for Manafort by his own attorney to help Manafort prepare for his testimony before a congressional committee that had been scheduled for the day of the search.  This is a very strange development.  In fact, if the claim is true, it could destroy the entire investigation by the special prosecutor.

Any summary of evidence or other document prepared by Manafort's lawyer for his client is privileged as an attorney/client communication.  The government is not allowed to seize privileged documents whether or not there is a search warrant issued.  If the FBI took such privileged documents, then not only would those documents be barred from evidence at any future trial, but all evidence that could be tied to such a document would be barred unless the prosecutor could show that the government either already had the evidence prior to the seizure of the privileged document or that the evidence was obtained without the benefit of learning what was in the privileged document.  The burden of showing that the evidence is not tainted by the privilege document falls on the government, and it is extremely hard to show that evidence obtained later was not gotten as the result of the illegal seizure of those documents.

It was strange that the FBI came in the middle of the night to Manafort's home to execute the search.  It was doubly strange that the FBI showed up on the day Manafort was to testify to Congress.  The FBI had to know that Manafort might have documents prepared by his counsel and that such documents could present the FBI with a major problem.

I really do not understand why the FBI took this action.  It seems like a rookie mistake.

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