Circus At The Garden

If we were in New York City and you told me the circus was in town I’d assume that it was at Madison Square Garden, better known as “The Garden”. Despite the facts that I was born in New York State and lived there well into adulthood I could be incorrect on the location. I’m a Buffalo, not New York City boy and those are two very different cities. Regardless of all that there was a circus in Manhattan on Monday but it took place in a federal courthouse. Let’s explore.  

Attorneys for Michael Cohen had filed a motion to suppress evidence recovered in an earlier FBI raid on his office, home and hotel room. Attorneys representing two interested parties were also present. Both interested parties were recent Cohen clients. One, President Trump was public and the other was not at the commencement of the proceedings. The mystery client turned out to be Sean Hannity.

Hannity had communicated with attorneys over the weekend that he wanted his identity to remain a secret, reportedly going as far as asking the attorneys to appeal an unfavorable ruling. To make a long story short, after a convincing legal argument by still another attorney representing several media outlets Federal Judge Kimba Wood ruled from the bench that the identity of the mystery client be revealed immediately.

It hasn’t happened as of this writing, but I expect Trump and/or his right wing mythology machine to attack the judge as part of the liberal deep state. Wood is 74 years-old and was appointed by Ronald Reagan. Her age alone gives her independence and I think it is going to be difficult to paint a Reagan appointee as an “Obama girl”.

Had Cohen, Trump etc. just let things go there is an extremely good chance that Hannity’s name would never have become public. The material seized in the raid would have been reviewed and if Hannity’s involvement with Cohen is as incidental and innocent as he claims his name would never have seen the light of day.

The motion to suppress was a “Hail Mary” at best. Any reasonable client or attorney would have made a cost/benefit analysis and decided the risk of failure far outweighed the improbable reward of success. That begs the question: just what is contained in this material that people like Trump and Cohen so fear? Remember Cohen, by extension Trump and presumably Hannity knows what is contained in the unviewed seized material.

Judge Wood prudently delayed a final ruling in the matter leaving alive the possibility that she will appoint a Special Master. The Special Master would be a neutral party that would do the primary review of the seized material and make the initial determination of what was germane to the investigation and what was not and/or fell under attorney client privilege. That would be a partial victory for Don Trump because it would delay the eventual outcome allowing his organized criminal enterprise to continue to enrich him and his inner circle for a longer period of time.

Just on the surface something appears to be rotten in Manhattan. Cohen had three paying clients in 2017, under normal circumstances hardly enough to maintain a legal practice in one of the world’s most expensive cities. The three are Donald Trump, Elliot Broidy and Sean Hannity. We know Cohen facilitated a $130,000 payment to a porn star on Trump’s behalf. We also know that Cohen facilitated a $1.6 million payment to a Playboy playmate that Broidy impregnated and who subsequently had an abortion. Is it believable that Hannity just asked some real estate advice? To date Hannity’s excuses are contradictory including whether he paid Cohen anything or just $10.

Either the lawyers representing these people are complete idiots or there is a story here that is yet to be revealed. Trump, in particular, has a nasty habit of not paying attorneys and being a difficult client. That precludes him from being able to get the best of the best as counsel; but attorneys who would offer such a bad risk/reward decision as their best legal advice is difficult to believe.

So far the Stormy Daniels scandal hasn’t hurt Trump with his base. How much more can accumulate coupled with the jobs and huge tax breaks not materializing before they start to desert him?

By the way, yesterday was the last day to file your federal income taxes. I sent out a small check last week. This will be yet another year that Trump refuses to release his returns. This much we do know; he is appealing his property taxes in several locations. One is Trump National Golf Club which is located in Ossining, New York in prestigious Westchester County. On his White House disclosure forms Trump valued the property at $50 million. Ossining assessed it at $1.5 million (3% of Trump’s valuation) and Trump filed suit claiming the valuation and therefore the taxes were too high.

If I were Hannity I’d be hoping people didn’t remember the old adage about birds of a feather!

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