Vince Foster's Unquiet Grave

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON: Does the attorney-client privilege extend beyond the grave? Is your lawyer allowed to keep your conversations secret after you die? Believe it or not, the Supreme Court is only just getting around to tackling this basic, if morbid, legal issue. Prosecutor Ken Starr, wearing his Whitewater hat, asked the Justices Monday to require attorney James Hamilton to turn over notes relating to one ex-client in particular -- the late Vince Foster. Hamilton begged the court not to cut off the sacred attorney-client privilege at the moment of death: "People do care," he said, "about their reputations and family and friends." Special Report

Starr already won a lower court case that required Hamilton to turn over the papers because of their relative importance to his investigation. But by taking it to the Supreme Court on principle, the independent counsel could send shock waves through the legal profession. A Starr victory, for example, could unseal files in the century-old case of accused ax murderer Lizzie Borden. Just how many cans of worms could Starr be opening? One right you will always have, even beyond the grave: To remain silent.