United States v. Albertelli

687 F.3d 439 (2012)

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United States v. Albertelli

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
687 F.3d 439 (2012)

  • Written by Rose VanHofwegen, JD

Facts

The government (plaintiff) charged Dennis Albertelli, his wife Gisele Albertelli, Arthur Gianelli, and Frank Iacaboni (defendants) for multiple crimes connected with an illegal gambling and racketeering ring. Some of the charges alleged that the men conspired in an attempt to burn down a restaurant in order to extort control over its owners. To prove extortion provided the motive, the prosecution called Dennis Albertelli’s long-time friend Mark O’Connor, who was also an attorney, to testify about a conversation they had beforehand about possible ways to gain control over the restaurant’s owners. Despite defense counsel objecting on the basis of attorney-client privilege, the court allowed the questioning. O’Connor testified that Albertelli asked him, “If [the conspirators] could cut off [the restaurant owners’] funds, wouldn’t they then fall faster in a financial house of cards?” O’Connor said, “Sure, but how is that going to happen?” Albertelli replied, “Well . . . what if there was a fire at the [restaurant] and they weren’t able to take any income out of the place?” O’Connor said he vehemently objected to the idea, but Albertelli asked, “[H]ow illegal is arson?” Albertelli and the other conspirators appealed, arguing that attorney-client privilege protected the conversation and precluded its admission as evidence.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Boudin, J.)

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