What Not To Do If You Are Involved in a Federal Criminal 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 what NOT to do if you are under investigation for a possible federal criminal charge.

The wrong response to a criminal investigation can land a person in more trouble. In this short video, criminal defense lawyer Matt Kaiser explains what a person should not do if he or she is under See more +

Matt Kaiser, a Washington DC federal criminal defense attorney at The Kaiser Law Firm PLLC (http://www.tklf.com), discusses what NOT to do if you are under investigation for a possible federal criminal charge.

The wrong response to a criminal investigation can land a person in more trouble. In this short video, criminal defense lawyer Matt Kaiser explains what a person should not do if he or she is under investigation.

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 find out that you are involved in a federal law enforcement investigation, I would like to talk to you about what you should not do. First, do not talk to other people about the investigation. This is for two reasons - except your lawyer - somebody you have got a confidential relationship with. Don’t talk to them for two reasons. First of all, if you go and talk to them, you could later be charged with obstruction of justice, if what you told them was “…hey you remember this stuff they are investigating, well I think we should remember it a little bit different.” If you are trying to go to somebody who could be a witness and tell them that their memory ought to be a little bit different or even coming close to telling them their memory ought to be a little bit different or even asking them what their memory was, so that maybe your memory should be a little bit different, you are running the risk of a prosecution for obstruction of justice, which is so much worse. It's the old adage that the cover-up can sometimes be worse than the crime. The second thing that can go bad if you go talk to somebody else about the investigation, is that they can be subpoenaed or law enforcement can go talk to them and if they are subpoenaed, if they are brought into a grand jury - whatever you said to them can then come out in the grand jury and that can only be bad for you. So don’t talk to anybody else about the investigation.

Second thing you should not do - don’t destroy documents. It should be really obvious why, but if there are documents that show something related to an investigation, don’t destroy them. It's a crime and especially on computers, the Government is so good at finding out when electronic documents were destroyed and really using that against you. So, please, don’t destroy documents, don’t delete files. It can be - even modifying files can be a problem. If you go into an Excel spreadsheet that matters a lot to the Government and you just delete the problematic values; that can be a federal crime. That can be obstruction of justice. If you are going to talk to somebody, don’t lie. Lying is the third thing you should not do if you are under investigation by the Federal Government because if you talk to law enforcement or you are talking to grand jury and you are lying that’s a separate crime. Lying to federal agents is a crime and that crime can get prosecuted. Martha Stewart was prosecuted for that crime. So, if you are going to talk, don’t lie. Probably the biggest, best thing you can do if you are under investigation is talk to a lawyer.

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Topics:  Destruction of Evidence, Grand Juries, Investigations, Obstruction of Justice, Subpoenas, Witness

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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