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Court: AG can get legal documents

on February 20, 2014 10:30 AM

HARRISBURG (AP) — Pennsylvania’s highest court says government agencies can’t assert lawyer-client privilege to protect records when the state attorney general’s office considers them necessary to fulfill its duties.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a case that arose out of a grand jury investigation of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

The court says that when the attorney general’s office looks into suspected wrongdoing at a state agency, the actual client of the agency’s lawyers is the public.

The turnpike commission’s lawyers had argued that government officials need to feel free to obtain legal advice under the attorney-client privilege.

But state prosecutors had said government lawyers have special duties to act in the public interest and address wrongful official acts.

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