Cohen lawyer: “It’s a crime because he plead guilty to it”

Say, what?

That’s the central argument being proffered by Lanny Davis – Michael Cohen’s lawyer (and longtime lawyer for the Clintons).

Interviewed by a well-prepped Martha McCallum,  Davis — playing defense — argued that there is certainly a campaign law violation:

Explicitly, because Cohen plead guilty to a campaign violation, and …

Implicitly, because the prosecutors – who had the facts – included the campaign violation in the plea deal.

imageclick to view … or keep reading

Let’s unpack Davis’ logic…

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There are a couple of interesting questions underlying Davis’ argument:

1) Can a defendant plead guilty to to a charge even if they’re innocent?

Answer: Sure they can.

Think Michael Flynn who plead guilty to lying to FBI agents even though the agents reported that he responses were truthful.

2) Can a defendant plead guilty to something that isn’t a crime?

Answer: Sure they can.

But, it’s presumed that prosecutors cull the pleading to eliminate such instances.

3) So, if a defendant pleads guilty to a charge that’s included in a plea deal, it must be a crime, right?

Answer: Not necessarily.

First, it’s important to note that a plea deal is uncontested. That’s different than an adjudication in a court trial.

Said differently, it means that the defendant and the prosecution agree.

It doesn’t mean that the prosecution is right.

And, prosecutors do, in fact, blow cases … winning in court only to have convictions overturned in higher courts that scrutinize the legal content of the initial conviction.

Think: Arthur Andersen – a firm destroyed by overzealous prosecution that was eventually overturned.

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Bottom line: Cohen’s having plead guilty to a campaign violation is interesting, but is not determining.

Just because he (and the prosecutors) say that it’s true doesn’t make it true.

Sorry, Lanny.

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One Response to “Cohen lawyer: “It’s a crime because he plead guilty to it””

  1. Dershowitz: “Candidate” Committed No Election Crime | The Homa Files Says:

    […] News & Views on Marketing, Economics & Politics « Cohen lawyer: “It’s a crime because he plead guilty to it” […]

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