Brief Fact Summary. Once it became apparent that Monica Lewinsky had perjured herself in her affidavit submitted in response to a subpoena in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, the district court determined that her communications with her attorney would no longer be privileged. She appeals this finding.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege does not apply when the client retained the attorney for unlawful or fraudulent purposes.
Issue. Does the crime-fraud exception apply to Lewinksy’s communications with her attorney, or are they still privileged?
Held. Yes, the crime-fraud exception was properly applied by the district court. Lewinsky’s affidavit was based upon knowing misrepresentation regarding a material fact, suggesting that her entire purpose in retaining counsel was fraudulent.
Discussion. Clients retaining counsel for criminal or fraudulent purposes should not expect that their communications will be privileged.