The federal government’s seizure of an attorney’s computer in connection with a child pornography investigation targeting the lawyer’s son has raised issues over the applicability and scope of the attorney-client privilege.

Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy said in a pretrial determination that police appropriately confiscated the computer and that a prosecutor diligently halted a search of the computer’s hard drive after realizing that it may contain at least some defense strategy. Still, the judge reserved decision on defense motions to dismiss the indictment and to quash a government subpoena that would require the defendant to disclose any passwords or encryptions preventing authorities from viewing computer files.

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