In re Grand Jury Subpoena

2 F.4th 1339 (2021)

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In re Grand Jury Subpoena

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
2 F.4th 1339 (2021)

Facts

The corporate body (campaign) charged with running the campaign for public office for a former candidate (defendant) in Georgia allegedly paid for the candidate’s personal expenditures from the campaign’s bank accounts. For example, the campaign purchased furniture on the Internet that was shipped to the candidate’s mother’s house. Under Georgia law, the campaign was required to disclose information about campaign expenditures. The campaign did not disclose most of the alleged personal expenditures. The campaign disclosed the furniture purchase, but the financial-disclosure form, which the candidate signed, indicated that it was for office supplies. The federal government instituted grand-jury proceedings to investigate potential federal wire fraud. The government interviewed the attorney who represented the campaign during the relevant time period. The attorney acknowledged that he helped prepare and file the financial-disclosure forms and that he was aware of some potentially personal expenditures before preparing the forms. The government subpoenaed the attorney to testify before the grand jury. The campaign moved to quash the subpoena based on the attorney-client privilege. The government moved to compel the attorney’s testimony, arguing that the crime-fraud exception to the privilege applied. The district court granted the government’s motion to compel in part and ordered the attorney to testify about advice he gave to the candidate and the campaign regarding the relevant expenditures during the time he represented the campaign. The campaign appealed to the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that the crime-fraud exception applied only if the attorney’s advice advanced the client’s criminal or fraudulent conduct.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lagoa, J.)

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