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UNITED STATES v. GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION
August 27, 1975
UNITED STATES of America
GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SNYDER
We are here concerned with problems arising out of a Government Motion to Compel Testimony from attorneys summoned to appear before a Federal Grand Jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania. The attorneys when questioned all invoked the attorney-client privilege at the direction of their clients.
A Special Grand Jury has been investigating George Edward Lee and others for possible violations of the Internal Revenue laws of the United States. The Grand Jury narrowed its inquiry to the accuracy of Lee's tax returns for the years 1968 through 1974, to determine whether he had sources of income which were not reported or had made payments in excess of reported income. During the course of the investigation, information was sought concerning various business ventures in which Lee was believed to have a substantial financial interest, and in which businesses he had utilized the services of attorneys Carl M. Janavitz, Paul A. Love, Charles N. Caputo, Stanley D. Kahn II, and Donald S. Hershman.
On March 20 and 21, 1975, these attorneys were summoned by subpoena to appear and bring with them records of various corporations and business activities in which it was believed Lee had an undisclosed financial interest. These subpoenas were in a form requiring production of:
"All books, records, correspondence and memoranda relating to transactions with, by or for George E. Lee in his own name or in the names of * * * or under any other designation known for the years 1968 through and including 1974. In particular, it is requested that you furnish the following:
1. Dates, amounts and purpose of legal fees paid;
2. Settlement sheets, sales agreements, purchase money mortgages, deeds, mortgage bonds, deeds of Trust, Sheriff's deeds, liquor licenses, state and Federal Estate tax records, insurance records, trust account records, bank accounts (ledgers, cancelled checks and deposits), powers of attorney, personal (business) notes and repayment records and escrow accounts; and
3. Incorporating papers, minutes, stock certificates, list of officers, corporate bank records (ledgers, cancelled checks and deposits)."
At the request of both the Government and the attorneys and by Special Order of Court, an in camera inspection of the transcript of the Grand Jury proceedings was ordered. The Court found that the attorneys had refused to identify their clients, and refused to surrender any documents in their possession which might have involved any client. They further refused to reveal whether they represented any individuals believed to be associated with Lee or any corporations named in the subpoena, or discuss fees paid, or even explain matters of public record such as the listing of the attorney's office as the incorporating office. The attorneys were all asked by the Assistant United States Attorney:
". . . any questions that I would ask you concerning the individuals or corporations named in the subpoena, you would invoke the attorney-client privilege concerning them and refuse to answer any questions at all concerning them?"
They all answered this question affirmatively, having received a letter dated March 19, 1975 from Alan Brunwasser, Esquire, now representing all of the individuals identified in the subpoena in another related matter, instructing the attorneys that his clients were specifically invoking the attorney-client privilege and that the ...
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