The Champion

May/June 2008 , Page 11 

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Advising the Grand Jury Witness: When Talk Is Not Cheap

By John May

Providing representation to an individual who has received a federal grand jury subpoena can be one of the most treacherous responsibilities facing counsel. The wrong advice can result in a witness becoming a target or it can leave a person who otherwise had no criminal exposure facing indictment for perjury. Recently, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that witnesses have the right to review the transcript of their grand jury testimony.1 

Although this was not the first decision to permit a witness to have access to testimony, it is the first decision that both articulates the reasons why disclosure should be routine and why a showing of a particularized need is only necessary when either the request comes from a third party or the witness seeks a personal copy of the transcript. This article demonstrates why seeking such disclosure should be the rule and not the exception in grand jury practice.

A Very Typical Scenario

Late one nig

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