Public officials, witnesses and bribes

A New York resident who bribes a witness or a public official may face serious repercussions. The definition of a “public official” may include a variety of categories including a member of Congress, a juror or a person employed by a department of the government.

This action can include a direct or indirect offer or promise to give something of value to a public official or to someone who has been selected as a public official in exchange for committing an unlawful act. It is also illegal to do so with the intent to influence any sort of suit, proceeding, controversy or other official act. In turn, a public official is not permitted to accept or demand anything of value in exchange for this type of influence.

Another type of violation might involve trying to influence a witness in a hearing, a trial, an appearance before Congress or a similar proceeding. In turn, a person who is in such a position is forbidden to seek any item of value related to this oath or affirmation.

Actions of this type are often referred to as “white-collar crimes”, but this does not mean that charges related to these types of activities are not serious. Other types of white collar crime might include actions such as embezzlement, insider trading and fraud. People may want to consider contacting an attorney when they are first approached by investigators. At first they might not be directly under investigation themselves or may not believe themselves to be. They might think that speaking to an attorney makes them look guilty. However, legal counsel from the outset might be helpful as the investigation proceeds.

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