Senate Judiciary Committee Hears Testimony on Corporate Fraud Prosecutions and Attorney-Client Privilege

On September 18, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “Examining Approaches to Corporate Fraud Prosecutions and the Attorney-Client Privilege Under the McNulty Memorandum.”  Several distinguished witnesses testified in favor of S. 186 — a bill that would curb an apparent trend of abuses involving requests for waiver of the attorney-client privilege and work product as a measure of an organization’s cooperation in criminal investigations.  The witness list included Karin Immergut, U.S. Attorney from Oregon and Chair of the White Collar Subcommittee for the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (for the U.S. Department of Justice), former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman, University of Florida College of Law Professor Michael Seigel, and former DOJ Enron Task Force Director Andrew Weissmann.   Written statements of these and other witnesses are posted on the website of the American Bar Association.   

The Senate Judiciary Committee also received numerous written statements in advance of the hearings,  including submissions from the ABA and a comprehensive letter from former Delaware Chief Justice Norman Veasey in support of the bill.  A copy of the letter can be found here. See Chief Justice Veasey Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee dated Sept 13, 2007.

The bill, S. 186, and its analog in the House, H.R. 3013, are a long way from  passage but both appear to have traction and remain hot on the agenda of national, state and local bar associations.

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