Trump-appointed Alabama judge threatens to jail LGBTQ+ rights lawyers; attorneys fight back

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05/21/2024

A Donald Trump-appointed federal judge in Alabama has threatened to jail several prominent LGBTQ+ civil rights lawyers involved in a long-running forum-shopping dispute. U.S. District Judge Liles Burke, who oversees Boe v. Marshall, a case challenging Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors, issued an unexpected order Friday, Chris Geidner of Law Dorkreports. Burke demanded that several lawyers turn over a Q&A document that the lawyers argue is protected by attorney-client privilege by 5 p.m. Central on Monday or face monetary sanctions and potential imprisonment. Burke justified his order by suggesting that the document might fall under the crime-fraud exception. The Q&A document is a prepared set of questions and answers created by the attorneys in an earlier case against the ban, Walker v. Marshall, at the request of Barry Ragsdale, their counsel, to help prepare for a hearing before a three-judge panel investigating allegations of judge-shopping. This document was intended to outline potential questions that might be asked during the inquiry and to provide suggested responses, assisting the attorneys in their testimony.

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