In In re Grand Jury Subpoena, No. 21-11596 (June 25, 2021) (Jordan, Newsom, Lagoa), the Court upheld an order granting the government’s motion to compel an attorney’s testimony to a grand jury.
The attorney was the lawyer in charge of the campaign of a political candidate who was under criminal investigation. While the attorney claimed that his testimony was protected by the attorney-client privilege, the Court agreed with the district court that the communications fell into the crime-fraud exception to the privilege. First, the Court held that the government made a prima facie showing of federal wire fraud by the candidate stemming from the diversion of, and failure to report, funds solicited by and donated to the campaign. Second, the Court held that the attorney’s communications with the campaign were sufficiently related to the wire-fraud scheme. Although courts have articulated different standards of relatedness, the more restrictive standard—requiring the communications to have furthered the criminal purpose—was met here because the lawyer was aware of the personal expenditures and then revised and reviewed the misleading disclosure forms.