Greetings, The Friday Whine is a casual email to friends and colleagues and contains three things: An ethics update, a legal profession update, and wine recommendation. If you see text in blue, it is a link to an article or information.
For ethics nerds like me, the story that our President had a sexual relationship with a porn star is nothing compared to yesterday’s news that our President flat-out said “no” to whether he knew that his lawyer paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in hush money.
Wait, the President has a lawyer, Michael Cohen, his current lawyer. This lawyer admitted that he paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 in “hush” money. He admitted that he paid the money out of his home equity line of credit. The money was paid on behalf of our President, although he used a fake name in the agreement.
A lawyer, paid someone off to settle a dispute with the lawyer’s client, and now the client is saying he didn’t know about it.
So what now?
Well, maybe lots of things. There’s talk of campaign finance law violations, ethics violations, lies, lies and more lies.
But I want to talk about confidentiality.
President Trump has thrown his lawyer under a very big bus.
So can his lawyer respond?
Under the Rule regarding confidentiality (in Florida it’s 4-1.9), a lawyer may reveal confidential information in certain circumstances. One circumstance is when there is a proceeding against the lawyer regarding the lawyer’s representation of the client.
Is President Trump telling a reporter he didn’t know about the payment a “proceeding?”
As the comment to the Rule states: The right to defend begins where a proceeding has been commenced.
There is no doubt that lawyer Michael Cohen is as loyal to his client as any lawyer I’ve ever seen, so my guess is he will not respond to his client’s statement – not due to any ethics issue, but solely due to his uber-loyalty to his client.
No, not retirement for lawyers, retirement of this section of the Whine. I’m going to remove this topic as a recurring one in the Whine. Maybe from time to time I’ll write about something here, but going forward, expect simply ethics and wine.
Pinot (In My Annoyed Voice)
I’m not a big Pinot Noir fan, although more and more I’ve been trying some pretty good Pinot. I was annoyed this week to attend a Pinot Noir tasting, and then became more annoyed when I saw something not too common – Pinot Noir from…Napa Valley. Napa is known for Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay. Sonoma is known for Pinot Noir.
So fine, I’ll try this “Ca’ Momi” Napa Valley Pinot Noir, and…it was damn good.
Then I see it comes from this weird winery that also makes…gin…and…vodka…and many different wines. Weird. Annoying.
I could only find it on wine.com. It’s $23. Let me know if you find it anywhere local.