Questions raised about former US attorney who knew the DOJ was protecting Trump
Donald Trump (Photo via AFP)

A former U.S. attorney who knew that the Department of Justice during Donald Trump's administration was protecting the former president is off the hook for an ethics complaint that could have led to his disbarment.

In the book "Holding the Line" written and published by former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, he alleged that he was under tremendous pressure from the Trump White House to make sure the former president was shielded as part of his investigation of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's payment to adult performer Stormy Daniels.

That admission led Cohen -- who eventually served jail time and was disbarred over the hush money payment that spared Trump embarrassment prior to the 2016 presidential election -- to file an ethics complaint against Berman.

However, as the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery is reporting, Berman was absolved of any wrongdoing on Thursday, and that has Cohen asking why.

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"According to Berman’s book, Justice Department top brass tried to shield Trump, demanding that Berman’s team of prosecutors scrub any reference to him in public law enforcement documents. And the attorney general at the time, Bill Barr, even tried to unravel Cohen’s prosecution by shopping around an alternative legal 'theory' that, in fact, Trump’s right-hand man hadn’t broken campaign finance laws," the Beast report states before adding, "But all the details remained secret until Berman landed a book deal with Penguin Press."

Responding to the revelation, Cohen's filed a complaint on Dec. 7 that claimed, in part: "Mr. Berman, despite his self-aggrandizing refusal to capitulate to the pressure campaign, failed and failed miserably to uphold his ethical and legal obligation to report the occurrences. By failing to do so, Mr. Berman deprived me of valuable information that could have been used in my defense.”

The Beast is reporting that minutes after they contacted Berman on Thursday for comment, a statement was issued from Jorge Dopico, chief attorney of the judicial region’s attorney grievance committee, who wrote, "Mr. Berman wrote that he took no inappropriate action at the behest of the Department of Justice under former President Trump. We have concluded that no further investigation or action is warranted.”

That has Cohen fuming and asking more questions that warrant an investigation of their own.

“He says nothing about the communications until he’s out of office, in private practice, and decides to write about it in a for-profit book. How is this not unethical?” he told the Beast in an interview.

The report adds, "Unlike some states where the legal profession is regulated by an independent bar association, New York state courts set the rules of conduct. Cohen filed his complaint against Berman, who works at the Manhattan firm of Fried Frank, with the attorney grievance committee at the regional appellate court, the First Judicial Department."

You can read more here.