We see privilege issues discussed in judicial decisions, legal commentary, and mainstream news. Here is my Monthly Privilege Roundup of interesting privilege issues for May 2018.
→As profiled in this post, the Special Master reviewing Michael Cohen’s files to identify potentially privileged information has many issues to consider. One thing she will not consider is whether the privilege covers Michael Gleason’s emails to Cohen regarding alleged sexual-abuse victims of former NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Judge Kimba Wood easily ruled that the common–interest doctrine offers no protection. You may read Gleason’s request here and Judge Wood’s ruling here.
→Speaking of the common–interest doctrine, attorney Larry Saylor published an excellent article on the subject in the May 2018 issue of the Michigan Bar Journal. It’s worth a read, which you may do here.
→Cynthia Baldwin, former PA Supreme Court Justice and Penn State General Counsel, is facing potential disciplinary action for, among other things, violating the attorney–client privilege when she disclosed communications from Penn State officials. You may read my post about Baldwin’s handling of the situation here, and an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the disciplinary hearing here.
→In Arkansas, a local judge ordered Arkansas’ Attorney General to testify in a lawsuit claiming she acted in bad faith by refusing to insert language on a ballot initiative. The court rejected the AG’s claim that the deliberative-process protects her discussions. Apparently, Arkansas has no deliberative-process privilege. You may read the story from UA Little Rock Public Radio here.
→In Stephanie Clifford’s currently stayed LA case against Michael Cohen, Clifford’s lawyer claims that he will depose Mayor Giuliani about his comments that President Trump repaid Cohen $130,000. Giuliani responded that Clifford can’t depose him because he is “a lawyer.” Story here.
→More prosecutors are listening to telephone discussions between inmates and their lawyers—this time in NOLA. This issue has popped up in a few other states and addressed in this column. Story from The New York Times is available here.
→And it’s not any better in Missouri. The Columbia Tribune reports that a Special Master concluded that prosecutors breached the attorney–client privilege by videotaping Shayne Healea, facing charges of felony intoxicated vehicular assault, talking with his lawyer. Story available here.
→Also in Missouri, State Auditor Nicole Galloway has several questions for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who is embroiled in a sex scandal and will now resign effective tomorrow. Galloway questions Greitens’ hiring of private attorneys with state funds, and specifically wants to know whether Greitens plans to assert the attorney–client privilege to withhold information. Story available here.
→It’s not been a good month for Governor Greitens. His lawyers appeared before a state House committee hearing and, unsurprisingly, legislators grilled them about the governor’s interactions. Of course, they cited the attorney–client privilege. Story from St. Louis Public Radio available here.