Condemning Those Who Leak Secret Information in Grand Jury Proceedings
Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers on Condemning Leaks of Secret Information about the Grand Jury Investigation by Kenneth Starr
February 7, 1998
WHEREAS, Matters pending before grand juries must remain secret, pursuant to Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, both to encourage unhampered investigations and to protect American citizens from unfair damage to their reputations by malicious rumor, false speculation, or prejudicial misinformation; and
WHEREAS, Grand jury leaks are illegal, unethical, and contemptuous; they sabotage the rights of all persons to due process and fundamental fairness; they jeopardize the credibility and integrity of the adversary system of criminal justice; and they poison the wellspring of liberty; and
WHEREAS, recent weeks have witnessed widespread, insidious leaks to the media of secret information about the grand jury investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, which could only emanate from a very limited number of persons privy to the grand jury proceedings; and
WHEREAS, numerous media reports have directly attributed these leaks to "sources in the Independent Counsel's office," "sources in Starr's office," "investigators," or "prosectors" which, if true, constitutes criminal obstruction of justice and a flagrant abuse of prosecutorial power;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers condemns those who leak secret information and calls upon the United States Department of Justice and the appropriate judicial authorities to immediately investigate to determine those who have unlawfully leaked information, as well as those who have failed to adequately supervise and control them; and further urges that such persons be professionally disciplined for unethical conduct and criminally prosecuted for obstruction of justice and criminal contempt.