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William F. Johnson

Many remember that home maven Martha Stewart was convicted after trial for her involvement in an insider trading scandal in the mid-2000s. What most do not know or remember is that she was not actually convicted on insider trading charges—she was convicted of making false statements to government investigators and obstruction of justice. That case illustrated, once again, that one of the most powerful weapons in the federal prosecutor’s arsenal is the ability to charge witnesses in government investigations with making false statements to investigators and/or obstruction of justice. These charges carry significant penalties, and are always available if a witness knowingly and corruptly lies, covers up, or obstructs, regardless of whether there is, or ever will be, sufficient evidence to charge anyone with the underlying crime being investigated.

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