Alan Dershowitz said Wednesday that longtime Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen "is moving into cooperation as a flipped witness," but his cooperation with Russia special counsel Robert Mueller might be limited by attorney-client privilege.
"The real problem is that he can't cooperate as much as he'd like to because he can't disclose anything that is lawyer-client privilege," the Harvard Law School professor emeritus told Anderson Cooper on CNN.
"He can disclose things that are outside of the lawyer-client privilege or maybe within the fraud exception of the lawyer-client privilege.
"But he can't just walk in and say, 'Let me tell you anything I know about my former client Donald Trump,'" Dershowitz said.
"The U.S. Attorney's office would not, ethically, be able to accept that kind of information.
"But it looks to me that it is moving into cooperation as a flipped witness."
ABC News reported Wednesday that Cohen was most likely preparing to cooperate with federal prosecutors after he is dropped by his law firm, McDermott, Will & Emery LLP.
Cohen's office, home, and hotel room were raided in April by FBI agents armed with search warrants based in part on information from Mueller's probe.
They seized 3.7 million records in the raid, which Cohen's lawyers have argued he should get a first look at.
Federal District Court Judge Kimba Woods appointed a special master to review the documents for attorney-client privilege issues, a process that is to be completed by Friday.
Cohen has not been charged with any crime, but Dershowitz told Cooper that "every prudent lawyer would have to operate under the assumption that he will be indicted for a serious crime that carries a long prison term.
"The nature of the crime doesn't matter as much as the fact that he will be indicted.
"You don't search lawyers' offices unless you're ready to indict," he said.
"Any lawyer should assume who takes the case that he's representing a client who will either be indicted or will cooperate."
However, the retired professor noted "we don't know whether he is flipping or not.
"I suspect he is sending messages to both sides."
Cohen, he said, is "sending messages to the prosecutors that I am available to flip — and sending a message to the president that I am available to be pardoned.
"Now, there is a struggle for the heart, soul, and testimony of Michael Cohen."
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