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Attorney-Client Privilege Bill Praised By ABA Prez

Posted Jul 18, 2007 7:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The president of the ABA is backing legislation that would bar prosecutors from pressuring companies to waive attorney-client privilege and cut off employees’ legal fees.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., introduced the bill in the House last week, Corporate Counsel reports. It is co-sponsored by Randy Forbes, R-Va.

The bill would overturn Justice Department policies that pressure companies suspected of wrongdoing to cooperate with the government to get leniency at sentencing. Currently, federal prosecutors who get permission from their superiors may demand that companies release the results of internal investigations or cut off legal fees of employees under investigation.

ABA President Karen J. Mathis released a statement saying she applauds introduction of the bill, which mirrors legislation introduced in the Senate in January. “It strikes the proper balance between the legitimate needs of prosecutors and regulators and the constitutional and fundamental legal rights of individuals and organizations,” she said.

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