Press reports of late have revealed that former Army Lieutenant-General and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former Trump Foreign Policy Advisor George Papadopoulos pled guilty to making false statements to government agents. Federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, prohibits a person “in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch” of the federal government from “knowingly and willfully” (1) falsifying, concealing or covering up “by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;” (2) making any materially “false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation;” or (3) making or using “any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry …”.

This statute applies when someone is interviewed by the FBI or other federal agent, without being advised of his rights or being placed under oath, as in a deposition or court proceeding. There is no pre-warning required or given. In fact, these situations usually occur under a “friendly- type” interview, or when an agent wants to ask “just a few questions” to clear up an issue.

Remember Martha Stewart? While investigating a potential insider trading scheme involving Stewart and her financial advisor, Stewart spoke with federal agents and it was later determined that she lied. While she escaped the stock fraud charges, she went to prison for making false statements during the investigation. More recently, Flynn, Papadopoulos and many others have not been charged with the crime for which they were being investigated, but have faced federal prison for lying to investigators.

Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers aggressively defend individuals charged with complex federal and state crimes. Founder Robert G. Stahl is recognized as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the NY/NJ area for his skills, knowledge and success. To contact us to discuss your case, call 908.301.9001 for our NJ office and 212.755.3300 for our NYC office, or email us at rstahl@stahlesq.com