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United States v. Bilzerian

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
926 F.2d 1285 (1991)


In 1985, Paul Bilzerian (defendant) solicited funds from investors in order to purchase securities from several different corporations. These purchases were large enough to require disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In his disclosure, Bilzerian stated that the securities in question were purchased with his own personal funds, not through the pooling of funds from other investors. When this false statement was discovered, the United States (plaintiff) brought criminal charges against Bilzerian for violation of §§ 10(b) and 32 of the Exchange Act. At trial, Bilzerian testified on his own behalf, stating that he did not intend to violate securities laws. He then moved to avoid cross-examination regarding conversations with his attorney related to the alleged violation of securities laws. The specific conversations he sought to suppress were normally protected by attorney-client privilege. The district court rejected Bilzerian’s motion, stating that his testimony regarding his intention to violate securities laws would open the door to cross-examination on the same subject, which included conversations with his attorney that were normally privileged. Bilzerian then appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cardamone, J.)

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