Here is Michael Cohen's lawyer and spokesman saying categorically that Cohen negotiated agreement w/o ever telling his client DJT anything abt it and made him a party to the agreement w/o any intention of telling him abt it or having him sign it. @MichaelAvenatti @renato_mariotti pic.twitter.com/xqNLvcx1uX— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) March 29, 2018
President Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, is in deeper hot water, thanks to his attorney and spokesman David Schwartz, who stuck his entire foot into his mouth, so to speak, on national television.
Cohen has been at the center of the ongoing Stormy Daniels affair saga as he allegedly set up a phony company to pay the adult film star $130,000 to keep her from speaking publicly about her encounters with Trump. Additionally, he is responsible for drafting the nondisclosure agreement that Daniels is trying to have thrown out, maintaining that it’s invalid because Trump never signed it.
During an interview with CNN, Schwartz essentially gave credence to Daniels' argument by admitting that Cohen never told the president about the agreement and never asked him to sign it.
“The president was not aware of the agreement,” Schwartz said. “At least, Michael Cohen never told him about the agreement.”
He continued: “Michael Cohen left the option open. That’s why he left that signature line, the option open to go to him. He chose not to. He chose to bind the LLC, EC LLC and Stormy Daniels into the contract.”
Schwartz also said that Trump wasn’t aware of the payoff negotiated under the agreement. In a nutshell, he disclosed to the world that Cohen, his own friend and client, violated ethics legalities for his under-the-table deal with Daniels.
According to Law and Crime, as a licensed practitioner of law in the state of New York, Cohen must abide by the bar’s rules of professional conduct, which includes Rule 1.4 that states lawyers must immediately inform their clients of “any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client’s informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(j), is required by these Rules,” as well as “material developments in the matter including settlement or plea offers.”
“Informed consent” is defined in Rule 1.0(j) as “the agreement by a person to a proposed course of conduct after the lawyer has communicated information adequate for the person to make an informed decision, and after the lawyer has adequately explained to the person the material risks of the proposed course of conduct and reasonably available alternative.”
If Schwartz’s claim that Cohen never informed the president about the agreement or the payout is true, it would mean he violated these rules, which could be grounds for losing his license.
This televised admission stunned many attorneys and law professionals on Twitter, including former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, who said Schwartz’s statements support Daniels’ assertion that the nondisclosure agreement is void.
Michael Cohen's attorney just claimed on @OutFrontCNN that Trump was not aware of the Stormy Daniels agreement or the payment, which means that there was no contract between Trump and Daniels, and Daniels can release the materials. Why would he admit this on national television?— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 28, 2018
The contract only lists remedies available to DD (Trump), not to the LLC. https://t.co/ERspigoVcn— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 29, 2018
Under the terms of the agreement itself, only "DD" can enforce it. If Cohen's position is that Trump is not DD, then unless someone else comes forward as "DD," it is unenforceable and Stormy Daniels can release the materials. https://t.co/pIquaTzwX1— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 29, 2018
Cohen's stupid plan could never work. But it's even stupider because Cohen wrote the stupid contract in a way that makes it crystal clear WHY it couldn't work, specifying that Trump waives his claims against Stormy "as material inducements to [her] to enter into this Agreement." pic.twitter.com/qdeihf3c2P— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) March 29, 2018
"Each Party acknowledges that [Stormy] is executing this Agreement in reliance" on *Trump* releasing certain claims he has against Stormy.— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) March 29, 2018
Michael Cohen can't offer that. EC LLC can't offer that either. Only Trump can.
So if Trump ain't in the agreement, THERE IS NO AGREEMENT.
If Cohen’s attorney speaking accurately, Cohen’s behavior will be taught in professional responsibility as fraud, suitable for bar sanction. 1/2— Heidi Li Feldman (@HeidiLiFeldman) March 29, 2018
In addition to undermining the underlying breach of contract claim, he just admitted his client violated the ethical canons by entering into a settlement agreement without his client’s consent. Cohen is going to be disbarred if this is true.— SpinDoctor (@SpinDr) March 29, 2018
The general public also found great amusement out of the jumbled mess this ordeal has become and Schwartz’s clear lack of discretion surrounding his client’s apparent shadiness.
🎶If you're about to lose your license clap your hands 👏🏾👏🏾🎶 https://t.co/e8JGYjopR4— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) March 29, 2018
I’ve never seen a group of lawyers that are so awful at lawyering. They’re either unethical or incompetent, or both.— Jeff MacDonald (@jeffmac23) March 29, 2018
Perhaps Trump should have hired a lawyer with more competence and legal qualifications than personal chemistry. Oh, wait.— Jeff Jacobs (@jeffjacobs79) March 29, 2018
So they just confirmed the affair, invalidated the non-disclosure, AND provided evidence of malpractice in one interview. you gotta admit that’s talent.— t. (@grace_eludes_me) March 29, 2018
There is, at least, one viable explanation for Schwartz's seemingly absentminded confession, which is that Cohen is willingly taking the fall for Trump.
As for the wisdom of Cohen’s atty describing publicly Cohen’s conduct, depends on client’s objective. If Cohen wants to take fall for Trump, this is one way to do it. 2/2— Heidi Li Feldman (@HeidiLiFeldman) March 29, 2018
Schwartz may have been well aware of what he was saying, and it could have been all part of a ploy to let the blame, in its entirety, fall on Cohen to protect the president. If this turns out to be the case, it would come as no surprise, considering Trump demands unwavering loyalty from everyone on his team.