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A nonprofit legal organization in New Orleans that represents the accused in death penalty cases has sued a former intern in an attempt to prevent her from publishing a book based on a client. The Louisiana Capital Assistance Center claimed that Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is violating attorney-client privilege in her writings, which have appeared on her Web site and in a literary journal. Marzano-Lesnevich was a law clerk at the center during the summer of 2003, when she was a student at Harvard Law School. According to the suit, she is now pursuing a writing career. “Marzano-Lesnevich has knowingly, intentionally, and in bad faith breached her fiduciary duty by divulging confidential and privileged information and other information from her representation of [the center's] clients which is prejudicial and harmful to [the center's] clients for her own personal profit and gain,” the complaint alleged. The document was filed in Louisiana state trial court in June but was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on Aug. 24. Marzano-Lesnevich’s attorney, Lori Mince, told the Associated Press that her client has not disclosed any confidential information. Mince has filed court documents arguing that Marzano-Lesnevich isn’t bound by attorney conduct rules. “Her core position is, ‘There’s nothing privileged about what I’m saying and you can’t get a court to order me not to talk,’ ” Mince said. Marzano-Lesnevich, who lives in Massachusetts, is working on a book about the prosecution of Ricky Langley, a sex offender who was convicted of killing a 6-year-old boy in 1992. Langley is one of the center’s clients. In 2010, a literary journal called the Bellingham Review published an essay by Marzano-Lesnevich about the case entitled, “Into the Fade,” that was labeled “creative nonfiction.” The piece describes her time at the center and references Langley’s case multiple times, but also discusses her childhood. “I knew most of our clients were guilty,” she wrote. “It was part of why I had chosen to spend my summer working at the firm.” In its complaint, the center argued, “Marzano-Lesnevich has caused and continues to cause irreparable harm to [the center] and its clients. Specifically, her unauthorized disclosure of confidential and privileged information and other information from her representation of [the center's] clients has and will negatively impact the inability of [the center] to defend its clients and the ability of its clients to obtain due process in connection with their criminal cases.” The center alleged that Marzano-Lesnevich’s writings would also hurt the center’s ability to collect donations and other financing. The center contacted the Bellingham Review in 2010 to demand the removal of the essay from its Web site, and the journal complied. However, the essay remains available on Marzano-Lesnevich’s personal Web site. She declined to remove the piece after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from the center in May, according to the suit. Karen Sloan can be contacted at [email protected].

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