Trump legal team waived attorney-client privilege on Cohen recording

Trump 'secretly recorded discussing payment to Playboy model'

Trump 'secretly recorded discussing payment to Playboy model'

US President Donald Trump has responded to reports that his former attorney Michael Cohen secretly recorded their conversions, calling the move "totally unheard of and probably illegal".

NY is a "one-party consent" state, meaning that in general, it is legal to record a conversation as long as at least one party agrees, even if that person is the one doing the recording.

Trump's current attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said the payment was never made and the tape shows Trump did nothing wrong. In this specific instance, it was Trump who waived the privilege after Special Master Jones ruled the tape was privileged.

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.

On his Twitter handle, Trump wrote; "Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer's office (early in the morning) - nearly unheard of". Citing a source familiar with the tapes, CNN reported that Trump, when informed about the September 2016 tape, said, "I can't believe Michael would do this to me". Giuliani added that Cohen was speaking with Trump to tell him that information and Cohen recommended Trump buy the rights from AMI.

It is unclear why Cohen and Trump discussed how to purchase the story from AMI and then apparently did not complete the transaction. Mr Trump had also told Mr Cohen that, if he did make a payment, to do it by cheque not cash, so it could be properly recorded.

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McDougal said she sold her story for $1,50,000 (Rs 1.03 crore) to The National Enquirer, a tabloid published by the American Media Inc and supportive of Trump, during the final months of the presidential campaign.

But he said no money was actually ever transferred, and the recording itself amounted to "powerful exculpatory evidence". "Any attempt at spin can not change what is on the tape", Davis said in a statement on Friday.

Her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, claimed Friday there were "multiple" tapes and urged Cohen to release all audio recordings publicly.

The New York State Bar Association calls such secret recording unethical. They shared the recording with Trump's lawyers as well, The New York Times reported, citing three people briefed on the matter.

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.

Cohen finds himself at the center of an investigation in the Southern District of NY into whether he violated campaign-finance laws, committed bank fraud or wire fraud, engaged in illegal lobbying, or participated in other crimes. "We have no knowledge of any of this", Hope Hicks, the campaign spokeswoman, said at the time, adding that McDougal's claim of an affair was "totally untrue".

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