A federal appeals court overturned the conviction of two pension fund trustees who were found guilty of embezzling pension assets in 1997, ruling that forcing their attorney to testify against them violated the attorney-client privilege. William D. Mett and Marvin Wiseman had been found guilty of withdrawing $1.6 million from the pension fund for Hawaii-based Central Art Galleries between 1990 and 1991 and depositing the funds into the companys general operating account. An employer acting as an ERISA fiduciary cant invoke attorney-client privilege against plan beneficiaries on matters of plan administration, wrote Judge Betty B. Fletcher for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The advice Messrs. Mett and Wiseman received, however, was concerned with their own personal, civil and criminal exposure due to undocumented withdrawals from the pension plan, she wrote. The government has 14 days from the June 1 filing of the opinion to appeal the ruling. Messrs. Mett and Wiseman have been free on bail since their conviction, said an attorney for the defense.