Attorney-Client Privilege

Lawyer Ordered to Testify About Client Communications

A lawyer has been ordered to testify about his communications with clients regarding opinion letters he wrote facilitating the sale of shares in Defense Technology Systems Inc.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin has ordered lawyer Frank Hariton of White Plains, N.Y., to testify under the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege, the New York Law Journal reports.

The company has been in the news because former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik was a member of its advisory board. Investors claim opinion letters by Hariton helped the company in a pump and dump scheme, in which company officers inflated the price of the stock before selling it.

The plaintiffs claim the defendants used Kerik’s involvement to bolster the stock.

At his deposition, Hariton said his opinion letters may have been based on misrepresentations from his clients and he may not have written them if he knew more facts.

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