Taxpayers aren’t the only ones who can face criminal charges if their advisors assist in any illegal activity or advice. This issue is being discussed as Morgan Lewis & Bokius, LLP, Donald Trump’s tax attorneys, have had to surrender a portion of their case file to New York Attorney General, Letitia James, this week. Although there are no accusations or reason to believe Morgan Lewis & Bokius participated in any illegal activity in aiding Mr. Trump with his tax matters, the requirement to disclose what the attorneys may have believed were confidential attorney-client privileged work product is a strong reminder that if lawyers cover up any criminal activity, the lawyers and the law firm could face criminal penalties.
The firm advised Mr. Trump on two conservation easements resulting in millions of dollars in tax deductions. Ms. James will be looking to see if the law firm manipulated the value of assets of the conservation easement properties in order to obtain a bigger tax deduction for Mr. Trump.
See a recent article on this topic in which our Managing Shareholder, Betty Williams, was interviewed on this topic here.