Trump’s Attorney-Client Leak Privilege

Pursuant to Judge Cannon’s order, her clerk has finally unsealed the substance of a complaint from Stan Woodward floated last summer: That, in a August 24, 2022 meeting, Jay Bratt insinuated that if Walt Nauta didn’t cooperate against Trump, then he’d lose his opportunity to be a Superior Court Judge. Here’s the letter presenting Woodward’s side of the story and here’s Jay Bratt’s explanation.

In his explanation of the dispute for Judge Cannon, Woodward repeatedly denied being the source for leaks to the press because “we litigate our cases in Court.” He even explained that multiple people got ahold of a longer letter including his complaint, but reporters, “agreed not to disclose defense counsel’s identity at defense counsel’s request because, we litigate our cases in Court.” That’s the same reason Woodward provided for not correcting Trump’s Truth Social attacks,

alleging prosecutors with the special counsel’s office had attempted to ‘bribe & intimidate’ a lawyer representing a witness in the case and claimed that the lawyer had been offered an, ‘”important judgship” in the Biden administration’ if the client ‘”flips” on President Trump.’

As Stan Woodward tells it, he spent a whole lot of time instructing journalists precisely how they should report on these allegations, but without correcting any false claims made by Trump.

It turns out, though, that Woodward’s complaint is not the only one Trump used in a bid to get grand jury testimony unsealed back in June 2023, after getting a target letter. Trump made a bunch of allegations:

  • Brett Reynolds was anxious to get Kash Patel to testify under the schedule when Beryl Howell had ordered it to occur even after Patel hired Stan Woodward just as the Oath Keeper trial tied up his schedule for months
  • Prosecutors asked Chamberlain Harris for a password to the laptop on which she had some classified information and she provided it
  • They gave Margo Martin somewhere between 72 hours and six days notice for a grand jury subpoena
  • They obtained a warrant for Carlos De Oliveira’s phone after having issued a subpoena for content because he hadn’t turned over a message from Nauta instructing him to cover up a July 10, 2022 return to Mar-a-Lago by Nauta and Trump
  • Tim Parlatore invoked attorney-client privilege 45 times during a grand jury appearance

It’s the last one that is the most remarkable. As Jack Smith explained — before even addressing the Woodward claims — the reason Parlatore was testifying before the grand jury in the first places was because Trump refused to have a real custodian of records attest to the thoroughness of the searches of Trump’s other properties for remaining stolen documents. As a result, Parlatore agreed to sit for a grand jury interview at which he would make item by item privilege claims about the thoroughness of the search he had overseen.

It was the same stunt Trump pulled with Christina Bobb in June 2022.

That part of Jack Smith’s response provides a ton more details about Parlatore’s efforts to string out prosecutors in fall 2022.

Trump made claims of abuse about one question in particular: whether Trump was the source for false claims Parlatore made about how cooperative Trump was during the June 2022 Jay Bratt visit, at which Parlatore was not present.

At one point, Parlatore ciaimed attorney-client privilege after being asked whether the former President was the source for Parlatore’s testimony about statements the former President purportedly made to government investigators about being cooperative. GJTr.40. The prosecutor then asked if a client could waive privilege and questioned why the former President had not allowed Parlatore to testify as to these conversations if he (the former President) meant to be cooperative, but the government prosecutor also quickly made clear that she was “absolutely not saying” that waiver of privilege is required to be cooperative and that, consistent with her earlier statement, she did not mean to “induce any waivers.”GJTr.40-43. Nonetheless, Parlatore on several occasions accused the government prosecutors of “trying to improperly invade the attorney/client privilege.”GJTr.45. see also GJTr.77. After one such accusation, a government prosecutor conveyed to Parlatore that “if [he] want[ed] to invoke the privilege, [he] can just say that” instead of casting aspersions about “what the people on this side of the table are and are not trying to do.”

In short, it was designed to create the opportunity to claim abuse, and Trump then claimed it.

What’s so interesting about the allegation — besides all the details of Parlatore stringing along prosecutors — is that shortly before this complaint, Parlatore loudly left Trump’s team and fairly routinely ran his mouth about details of Trump’s legal team. That is, Parlatore was more forthcoming with CNN than he was with the grand jury. And per a Hugo Lowell story, Parlatore shared a transcript of this grand jury appearance before Trump demanded a transcript of this grand jury appearance.

It’s all so predictable and obvious.

But … eight months later, it still seems to work wonders for Aileen Cannon.

13 replies
  1. coalesced says:

    Maybe I just missed this at the time, but according to the document unsealed with docket #116, prior to 6/27/2023 (when Blanche first arrives pro hac vice), Stanley Woodward was ALSO Trump’s primary attorney?!

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lame of “reporters” to agree to cover Trump/Woodward in the way they wanted themselves covered. Seems beyond whether something was “off the record” or not.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “We litigate our cases in court,” is a classic non-denial denial. It also breaks the irony meter it comes from a litigant so practiced in litigating thousands of cases in the press and behind the scenes, in the manner of Roy Cohn.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Why don’t we just refuse to give them any documents?”

    When Donald Trump asks a question like that and hears the obvious answers, it doesn’t mean he accepts his lawyers’ advice or agrees to do what they recommend to keep him out of jail. It means he’ll ignore it and get around it without telling them.

    • Playdohglobe says:


      This is a pearl of wisdom in your observation. Thank you. The pattern repeats ..over and over. In a mad attempt at Machiavellian level manipulations – Trump and his minions continue the pattern. Trump as the lead crime boss with a plan.

      IANAL- I am gobsmacked by the fact that good lawyers in government have yet to get judicial remedies to this pattern of abuse. Crime has paid handsomely for Trump..which is why he crimes, IT PAYS off.

      Alvin Bragg is the first legal professional to put Trump/Former President on trial for a crime. The pattern EOH describes is the same and it is the same pattern for Civil suit put forth by AG Willis. Georgia, Arizona, Florida via Cannon trial, etc.


      “Shugerman attacks the prosecutor’s election interference theory. He argues there is no precedent for satisfying the law’s “intent to defraud” requirement with an allegation that the defendant intended to defraud the general public.”

      Trump bets the legal system can’t catch him for a crime and the legal attorney defense system helps him do it. This Attorney Shrugerman is no Trump acolyte. He trashes the case against Trump as he sees over reach by the DA defending the People of the USA from a career Criminal.

      It is amazing how crime pays when money and hiring lawyers to fight the system keeps a criminal at large.

      Al Capone. did not go to jail for murder..but for I.R.S. Violations.

      The Criminal mind as EOH states goes around the system to crime ..until he is stopped. A Vicious cycle to see it happen in real time.

      I am glad to see Alvin Bragg work the system to engage against this criminal approach to power.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username AND EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Yor email address on this comment contained a 4 instead of a 1 which I have corrected this one time. We don’t even ask for a working/valid email address, only that you use the same address on each comment. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Playdohglobe says:

        Apologies Rayne. Truly, it is not a big ask. You have way better things to do. From your lips to a Higher Powers ears..may my typos be gone! This is a wonderful site you all curate/created. Thank you.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Is this what Trump and his lawyers mean when they say they only litigate in court?

    Trump rants in all-caps on his social media site that witnesses are allowed to say whatever they want about him, but that he can’t “defend himself.” Not.

    He is allowed to refute what witnesses say about him, but not by making public statements, by tweeting his frustration, or by threatening and defaming them. Trump refutes their testimony, or tries to, when his lawyers cross-examine them, and when they present contrary, admissible statements by other witnesses. As usual, Trump’s complaints are all about him.

    • dopefish says:

      Wow, reading these transcripts is going to be so much fun.

      From page 899, here is Todd Blanche in his opening statement:

      You will learn that shortly after the election in 2016, Michael Cohen wanted a job in the adnimistration. He didn’t get one.
      You’ll hear that he was loyal. He was very loyal to President Trump and the companies for years. He defended President Trump on television, in printed media, publicly, privately.
      But unbeknownst to President Trump, in all the years that Mr. Cohen worked for him, Mr. Cohen was also a criminal. Apart from his work for President Trump and the Trump companies, he cheated on his taxes, he lied to banks, he lied about side businesses he had with taxi medallions, among other things.

      Oh yes, please tell us more about Cohen’s rampant criminality during all the years he worked for Trump! Who is such an upstanding good citizen and would never do such things as “cheat on his taxes” or “lie to banks”. LOL.

      • Barringer says:

        “Unbeknownst” is doing some heavy lifting in that opening statement. Left out “apart from the crimes he committed at Trump’s direction…”

      • dopefish says:

        The transcript of Tuesday is up now too. (in a weird html-with-embedded-jpg format for each separate page..)

        Reading the contempt hearing part, during Blanche’s rambling attempt to defend Trump’s conduct, you can practically hear the Judge getting frustrated that he’s not hearing clear answers or any caselaw or compelling arguments from Blanche. Blanche tried to paint “reposts” as some kind of special thing with no caselaw about it, but Judge Merchan forced him to admit they weren’t a passive thing that occurred automatically, but that Trump (or someone) had to actively do something to publish them, and therefore is liable for their content. Then page 985:

        THE COURT: There is no relevance to that.
        Do you have any case law that you want to hand up, any other arguments that you want to make to me at this time?
        MR. BLANCHE: Yes.
        Again, your Honor, we said it in our papers, but now that we’ve had this hearing, it’s worth ending on this point, which is that this Gag Order, we are trying to comply with it.
        And there is no doubt that we are here about 10 different purported violations.
        President Trump is being very careful to comply with your Honor’s rules.
        And ——
        THE COURT: You, Mr. Blanche, you are losing all credibility. I have to tell you that right now. You are losing all credibility with the Court.
        Is there any other argument that you want to make?
        MR. BLANCHE: Yes, your Honor.


  6. JonathanW says:

    I’m curious about the last sentence about how it works with Judge Cannon. Does this mean that Judge Cannon is likely to sanction the prosecution in the case in some way? How far can such a sanction go (if that’s even what she can do)?


  7. jecojeco says:

    Half dozen trump lawyers indicated in AZ, most have other charges against them in other jurisdictions but I think Chrissy Bobb and Boris Epstein are new adds

    Wasn’t there a scorecard here of trump lawyers indicated, disbarred etc?

    Taking trump as a client is a life changing error. A handful of street savvy lawyers have cut & run the past year.

Comments are closed.