Now in Legal Rebels:
Posted Apr 24, 2012 06:34 pm CDT
A New Jersey judge has approved a plan by the state attorney general to subpoena legal-fee information concerning 20 of 34 defendants indicted in 2010 on charges they participated in a claimed $2.2 billion international gambling ring operated by an organized crime family.
Although defense lawyers argued that attorney-client privilege precludes the discovery and that the AG’s office is seeking information about crimes for which the defendants have already been indicted, Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez ruled last week that the information is discoverable in a probe concerning possible money-laundering of funds used for legal fees, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Lawyers for two of the defendants expressed concern about the ruling and said they are considering an appeal.
“A decision on obtaining fee records of private attorneys would not just affect this case, but it would affect most criminal cases,” Thomas Cataldo said.
Only 20 of the 34 defendants in the underlying gambling case are targeted for subpoenas by the AG’s office because 10 have been represented by public defenders, and another two pled out earlier.