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CIRCUIT’S RULING COULD END UP AT HIGH COURT NEW YORK — Tuesday’s endorsement of the attorney-client privilege for government officials by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals may be a strong candidate for U.S. Supreme Court review. By agreeing that legal counsel for former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland could assert the privilege applied to conversations about a federal investigation into quid pro quos for gifts the governor received, the panel admittedly staked out a position it said was in conflict with one other federal appeals court and “in sharp tension” with decisions in two other circuits. Unlike other circuits, including the D.C. Circuit when it ordered Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey to testify about former President Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the Second Circuit in United States v. John Doe, 04-2287, said that, if anything, “the traditional rationale for the privilege applies with special force in the government context.” “It is crucial that government officials, who are expected to uphold and execute the law and who may face criminal prosecution for failing to do so, be encouraged to seek out and receive fully informed legal advice,” Chief Judge John Walker Jr. said. Connecticut District Court Judge Robert Chatigny had ordered Anne George, former chief legal counsel to the governor’s office, to answer questions before a grand jury about her conversations with Rowland and his staff concerning the federal probe. The scandal ended last year with the resignation of Rowland and his entry of a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to steal honest service. — New York Law Journal

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