White-Collar Client Alert Follows Phil Russell Case

October 5, 2007

Law Blog

October 4, 2007

Prosecution Raises Eyebrows Of Criminal Defense Bar

Posted by Peter Lattman

If you’re a lawyer representing any organization, you best pay attention to a recent prosecution brought by the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut. That’s the advice of Wilson Sonsini’s white-collar group in this client alert.

Christ Church in Greenwich retained Philip Russell , one of its parishioners, after it discovered child pornography on its musical director’s laptop computer. Russell told the musical director to retain counsel because possession of child pornography was a federal crime. The employee resigned. The church turned the laptop over to Russell, who destroyed it. No one told the feds.

“He was in a difficult position: It arguably would have been a crime for the attorney to even temporarily possess the child pornography, and turning the contraband over to the authorities arguably would have violated his duty to zealously represent his client—the church—which possessed the contraband before him,” writes Wilson Sonsini.

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