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In the Matter of Grand Jury Subpoena of Ford v. United States

756 F.2d 249 (1985)

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In the Matter of Grand Jury Subpoena of Ford v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

756 F.2d 249 (1985)

Facts

Colette Pean was indicted in federal court for conspiracy. Pean’s husband, Ford (defendant) was subpoenaed to give testimony to the grand jury. Ford filed a motion to quash the subpoena, asserting the privilege against adverse spousal testimony. The government (plaintiff) responded with an affidavit promising not to use Ford’s testimony against Pean. Specifically, the government asserted it would establish an ethical wall pursuant to which Ford would be questioned by an assistant United States attorney (AUSA) who was not working on the Pean indictment, in front of a grand jury different from the one conducting the Pean indictment. The government also promised that if Ford’s testimony was useful to the government, Pean’s trial would be severed from the other alleged coconspirators and the testimony would not be used in her separate trial. This trial would be conducted by an AUSA and jury not familiar with the overarching indictment. The district court found that these procedures upheld the principles of the spousal privilege and denied Ford’s motion. After Ford refused to testify, he was held in contempt. Ford appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Timbers, J.)

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