Cocaine Trafficker’s Contempt Conviction Undone by Third Circuit

April 7, 2021, 7:56 PM

A federal appeals court reversed a drug trafficker’s conviction for criminal contempt on Wednesday after she refused to testify against an alleged co-conspirator, concluding the lower court failed to determine whether “she could have reasonably believed” the testimony sought could incriminate her in new crimes.

Before ordering her to testify despite her invocation of the privilege, the court needed to determine that it was “perfectly clear” that she was mistaken and that the testimony couldn’t possibly have a tendency to incriminate, “including by leading to evidence against her,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said.

Although it...

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