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Overt Investigations (From Prosecution of Public Corruption Cases, P 145-155, 1988, U.S. Department of Justice -- See NCJ-110010)

NCJ Number
D Small
Date Published
11 pages
This article discusses factors and legal issues that prosecutors should consider before disclosing the existence of a covert investigation in public corruption cases.
Before going overt, prosecutors should carefully review the case to determine if all the necessary and available evidence has been collected and to prepare for the likely consequences of the disclosure on involved individuals. Following disclosure, defendants' attempts to cover up past activities may result in crimes that are more serious and readily provable than the original corrupt acts. In addition, defendants are likely to contact others involved, so pen registers, surveillance, and other techniques should be considered. The investigative grand jury proceedings, while requiring a large commitment of time and resources, can provide additional investigative leads to other corruption and may result in related tax evasion and fraud cases. Additional issues that prosecutors should consider in preparing for grand jury investigation include perjury, fifth amendment rights of witnesses, subpoenas, advice of rights, multiple representation, and recantation. Use of search warrants, simultaneous interviews, and subpoenas also should be considered.