The challenges of preparing a federal grand jury witness can be complex and frightening. The grand jury’s power, its secrecy and the roles of counsel all make for a dangerous environment. The rules and procedures surrounding the grand jury may vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. It is a very special type of proceeding.

A federal grand jury consists of 23 citizens who are chosen at random and sit for 18 months. How often they meet can vary widely. No judge is present. The grand jury generally has two purposes — investigation and screening.

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