How Do Federal Prosecutors Categorize People Who Are Involved in an Investigation?

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Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses the different statuses in a federal criminal investigation - subjects, targets, and witnesses.

If you'd like more information for people facing federal criminal charges, under investigation for a federal crime, or trying to appeal a criminal conviction in federal court, please visit our webpage See more +

Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses the different statuses in a federal criminal investigation - subjects, targets, and witnesses.

If you'd like more information for people facing federal criminal charges, under investigation for a federal crime, or trying to appeal a criminal conviction in federal court, please visit our webpage at:

http://www.thekaiserlawfirm.com

If you'd like more information, you can read our blog - which describes every published opinion in a federal criminal appeal where the defendant wins - you can read it here:

http://www.federalcriminalappealsblog...

Video Transcript:

If you are involved in a federal investigation, one of the things that will be of incredible importance to you is your status in the investigation. There are three statuses. Let me talk about each of them.

The first status to worry about is being a target. A target is the person that the prosecutor is gunning for, that’s the target of the investigation. It's the person who the prosecutor believes has committed a crime and they are trying to figure out what the crime was and how to build the case against them. A witness, on the other hand, is somebody who has really got very little exposure. The prosecutor believes that the person hasn’t done anything wrong, they simply have information. They were there. They saw something. They have documents that relate to something. They are not caught up in it. The last status is in between the two - you are a subject and so, if you are a subject in an investigation what that means is that you are not a target - so they don’t - they are not gunning for you, but the prosecutor thinks that there's a good reason to believe you may have done something wrong, you may have committed a crime or been a part of a criminal activity, you have been a part of the conspiracy. If you find out that you are involved in an investigation - in a federal law enforcement investigation - one thing you can and should do is have your lawyer reach out to the prosecutor and find out from the prosecutor what your status is. The prosecutor will often tell you and that can give you a little bit of peace of mind.

One problem with that, though, is that your status in the investigation can change when the prosecutor learns more information. You can move from a witness to being a subject or a subject to a witness. So investigations tend to be fluid and it's important to keep in mind that the comfort you get from any one status could shift as the investigation moves forward.

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Topics:  Federal Prosecutors, Investigations

Published In: Criminal Law Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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