A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

DOJ defends policy encouraging turnover of corporate records to investigators

[JURIST] US Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty [official bio] expressed support at a Senate hearing Tuesday for a Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] policy that encourages corporations to turn over confidential records to officials investigating corporate fraud [JURIST news archive]. The 2003 Thompson Memorandum [PDF] instructs prosecutors that cooperation by officials is one of nine factors to take into account in determining whether to press charges against a company. According to McNulty, such cooperation may include disclosing the results of internal investigations and waiving attorney-client protections, although refusal to take these steps would not necessarily result in charges.

In testimony [official statement] before the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary [official website], McNulty praised the transparency that the policy gives to the charging process. A spokesperson for the American Bar Association (ABA) [official website] opposed the policy [press release], however, arguing that "the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine are fundamental principles of our legal system that must be protected." The US Chamber of Commerce [press release] also urged the committee to invalidate provisions of the memorandum that would impede communication between attorneys and their clients. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.