On Fox News Alan Dershowitz spoke with Bill Hemmer on the recent Cohen plea deal and the effects it will have on the Mueller probe. Transcript below:
Bill Hemmer: [Cohen] admitted to making false statements in 2017 to a U.S. senate select committee on intel about a plan to build a trump tower in Moscow. The only lien on the associated press that has given us a clue as to what this is about. Back to professor Dershowitz. You made a comment in a moment ago about the conflicting statements that he has been through in the last year or year and a half year do you believe legally he is a good witness?
Alan Dershowitz: Well, legally, he is ready. He is admitting to making false statements. His credibility as a witness diminishes. The question is whether he will say what others have said about buildings in Moscow or whether or not that any kind of criminal activity. I find it very hard to define. What's happening is a special prosecutor is making all of his decisions based on false statements. You know, it is interesting. in other parts of the world, you can't even prosecute people for that. the entire series of indictments, false statements. for example, hypothetically, if they were building buildings are planning to build buildings in Russia, currently, that would not be a crime. But lying about it might be a crime. So we are seeing many of these cases being built around false statements.
Hemmer: Before the thanksgiving break, the president cemented his written answers to Bob Mueller. could that have an impact on what we are seeing here?
Dershowitz: Yes, I believe it could. before the president give those answers, they are going to come through every one of his answers and see if they can come up with anybody who can contradict anything the president said. at that is why it is called perjury. because even if the president believes what he said was true, if somebody will contradict it, then the president can be charged with lying to government officials, which is the equivalent of perjury. so that's why it is so dangerous for anybody who is the subject of an investigation to answer questions by the prosecution because the prosecution then comes through evidence, tries to get evidence that they can then use to show contradictions.
Hemmer: What is your reaction to the report of yesterday that Kevin Downing, the attorney for Paul Manafort, has been in contact with Rudy Giuliani, representing the present, clearly?
Dershowitz: Well, there is nothing wrong with that. Any good lawyer tries to reach out to witnesses, even witnesses who will cooperate with the other side. Perfectly legitimate to do it. Prosecutor to say to one of his witnesses that you can't talk to the lawyer for the other side. The question is whether or not Paul Manafort, whether his lawyers do that. Maybe not so smart because look what happened. The plea deal imploded, and now, he's going to get sentenced even more harshly than he would have, had he made no deal.
Hemmer: My question was not based on something that had been done illegally. If you're a lawyer, you want to gather as much information as possible. If I were Rudy Giuliani, I would speak with him and find out what questions Robert Mueller has.
Dershowitz: And that is entirely legitimate. It is almost mandatory. Any good lawyer should do anything that he can that is ethical and legal to find out as much as possible about the case that is being built against his client.
Hemmer: You mention to the perjury trap, sir. Do you think that all of these cases are based on that?
Dershowitz: I think a lot of them are. I think the weakness of mailers substantive findings are suggested by the fact that he has to resort to false statement prosecutions. Which really shows that he didn't start with very much. And the very fact that he is conducting an investigation has created these crimes. These are not crimes that have been committed. Prior to his appointment. They are crimes that were committed as a result of his appointment and that raises some questions about the role of special prosecutors in creating crimes. Creating opportunities for crimes to be committed. In the end, I don't think the other is going to come up with very much in terms of criminal conduct this was before he was appointed, that is quite shocking.
Hemmer: That's a very low legal bar, for example, I ask you about a date, you get the date wrong. an email, you get the email wrong, that would be under the definition.
Dershowitz: Technically, it has to be willful and deliberate, but that puts the burden on the defendant to show that he made a mistake, rather than lie and that sometimes is hard to do.
Hemmer: Thank you very much, Professor Dershowitz.