Most of the time, practicing criminal law is pretty simple. Since the vast majority of clients are guilty as charged and lack the financial resources to pay for a trial, you cut a plea deal and do the best you can at sentencing.
But if you have an innocent client who is the target of an investigation or has already been charged, things can get complicated. How to save your client from being unjustly arrested or convicted? Should you resist and fight? Or should you cooperate with the prosecution and lay your client bare in an effort to demonstrate his innocence?
The answer to those questions depends on the prosecutor’s trustworthiness and motive. Is the prosecutor after the truth or a scalp? Whether to fight or cooperate is a function of the prosecutor’s character and agenda.
In my long experience, most prosecutors have been honest, motivated to seek the truth, and lacked any interest in charging or convicting the innocent. In those cases, I have had my clients fully cooperate with the prosecution, and the results have been most gratifying.
On the other hand, in those few instances where the prosecutor appeared to be on a mission to take down my client regardless of the law or facts, I have waged all-out war. Under such abnormal circumstances, there can be no other choice.
This is why I have been dumbfounded by President Trump’s lawyers’ approach to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation. To my dismay, the president’s counsel have totally cooperated with Mueller. According to media reports, they have voluntarily produced more than a million pages of documents and made administration witnesses available for interrogation. At one point, Trump’s lawyers even publicly hinted the president might voluntarily submit to an interrogation by Mueller.
There’s Very Good Reason to Be Hostile
All of this appears to be premised on counsels’ stated belief that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia and that the president did not obstruct justice by firing FBI Director James Comey. Fair enough, but given the toxic, highly partisan atmosphere in Washington, Mueller’s glaring ethical shortcomings, and the Hillary Clinton sycophants who comprise his staff, it is irrelevant whether Trump is innocent.
Based on the declassified House intelligence committee Republicans’ memo and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s referral to the Justice Department of British spy Christopher Steele for possibly lying to the FBI, it appears that the hierarchies of Comey’s FBI and President Obama’s Justice Department conspired to save Clinton’s candidacy by running a fake investigation of her unsecure private email server and conducting illegal electronic surveillance of the Trump campaign. If Trump somehow managed to win the election, their backup objective was to take him down and end his presidency.
All of this raises the question of the true purpose of Mueller’s investigation. Is it an honest search for the truth or a continuation of the anti-Trump plot hatched during the campaign?
In the Philadelphia Inquirer I have time and again warned against cooperating with Mueller. If Trump were my client, I wouldn’t give the special counsel the time of day without a court order. I would make him crawl over hot coals all the way to the Supreme Court and back before I would give up a single scrap of paper. When he wanted the next scrap, I would make him do it all over again. Under no circumstances would my client voluntarily submit to questioning.
What a Hostile Prosecutor Can Do With an Interrogation
A few weeks ago, The New York Timesreported that John Dowd, who recently resigned as Trump’s lawyer, had counseled the president to refuse interrogation unless it could be shown that only Trump possessed information the prosecutors didn’t already know. Under normal circumstances, this could be a reasonable legal position.
During WWII there was a German concentration camp commandant, his name was Mueller. exterminated over 900,000 Jews. predicated on his behavior and having exceeded the scope of the initial investigation; maybe there is a genetic link. it is time for him to be gone.
It doesn’t matter what Trump does, it will be promoted by the left as anything other than the what the facts are. Only the fantasy version will be believed by the left. Cooperate, refuse to cooperate… no difference.
I agree with George Parry. Mueller doesn’t want to end this quickly. He has made every investigation last a long time and then ended up with nothing except bankruptcy and soiled names for the objectives of the investigation. Mueller should be disbarred for his poor ethical practices.
@Randy: Oh, by all means, dragging this out with the tantalizing promise of that money-shot revelation just around the corner (after all, the investigation wouldn’t be going on if Trump wasn’t guilty, would it?) and the golden fleece of impeachment within reach is the ultimate goal. After all, liberals can’t simply rely on a fair election to win power, can they?