A judge has stayed proceedings against the former No. 2 man at Montreal city hall

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A judge has stayed proceedings against Frank Zampino, the former chairman of Montreal's executive committee, ruling that investigators violated Zampino's rights by recording calls between him and his lawyer.

Judge Joelle Roy ruled Monday at Montreal's Palais de justice that 39 phone calls between Zampino and his attorney should not have been recorded, and that clients and their lawyers have the right to believe that their communications are private. Violations to that right in Zampino's case were numerous and significant, the judge ruled.

"Today we are very content, very happy with this decision for all Quebecers all Canadians," said defence attorney Isabel Shurman. "This decision recognizes that solicitor client privilege is sacred and the state has no right listening in to communications between people and their lawyers."

Zampino had been facing several corruption-related charges in connection with municipal contracts awarded to engineering firms, allegedly in return for political fundraising while working under then-mayor Gerald Tremblay.

Zampino was charged and arrested following an investigation by UPAC, Quebec's anti-corruption squad.

A spokesman for the office of the mayor of Montreal told CTV News Monday that the city intends to go ahead with a $26-million lawsuit against Zampino, construction magnate Tony Accurso and others, seeking to recover just some of what it says bid-rigging in municipal contracts has cost the city.