The Justice Department announced this evening proposed changes to its policy of seeking attorney-client privilege waivers in corporate investigations.
Most notably, whether or not a corporation waives privilege will not be taken into account when making charging decisions.
In future, in order to be eligible for cooperation credit, corporations “need not disclose, and the government may not demand” attorney work product and attorney-client privileged communications, Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip said in a letter to lawmakers.
Prosecutors are also barred from considering whether corporations advance attorneys’ fees to employees or whether corporations enter into joint defensive agreements.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee welcomed the development.
“The department appears poised to make substantive changes to its policy,” he said. “I have emphasized for years the importance of the attorney-client privilege and have said the department must take all necessary steps to correct the abuses documented earlier in this Administration and to address lingering concerns."
*See Thursday's print edition of the Daily Journal for more on this.