In re: Deposition of Matthew Lefande, No. 18-7031 (D.C. Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Matthew LeFande appealed a criminal contempt order for refusing a magistrate judge's orders to take the witness stand and be sworn for in-court questioning on the record in lieu of an ordinary, out-of-court deposition in a civil action. LeFande served as counsel for defendants in an underlying civil case.
The DC Circuit affirmed the criminal contempt order, holding that a fair-minded and reasonable trier of fact could accept the evidence as probative of a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, LeFande did not dispute that he willfully violated the magistrate judge's orders. Furthermore, the district court indisputably had jurisdiction over the underlying action; the district court had personal jurisdiction over LeFande based on his nexus with the forum and the case; LeFande's objection that the order to testify violated the attorney-client privilege was contrary to circuit law, and to the magistrate judge's and district judge's prior orders applying that precedent to LeFande; the validity of the contempt order was unaffected by LeFande's assertion that District Title sought to depose him for an improper purpose; and LeFande's discovery argument lacked merit.