Moskowitz & Book, LLP - New York Attorneys at Law

Interesting To Note – Grand Jury Witnesses Not Bound By Secrecy

January 29, 2016 / by Moskowitz & Book /

In a strongly worded rebuke to the federal prosecutor’s office that he used to run, Judge Raymond Dearie found that language contained in grand jury subpoenas issued by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York that directed grand jury witnesses not to disclose the existence of the subpoena was “improper” and “cause for serious concern.” Although the Court denied the defendants’ motion to exclude the evidence obtained pursuant to the improper subpoenas, Judge Dearie, citing a 1983 decision by the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Sells Engineering, Inc., and Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, held that grand jury witnesses, unlike prosecutors and grand jurors, are not bound by grand jury secrecy. The decision in U.S. v. Gigliotti, should eliminate any doubt that a subpoenaed witness may have about her ability to discuss grand jury proceedings with anyone she chooses. To put it bluntly, a grand jury witness can broadcast the substance of her testimony on national television, if she chooses, and the Government is powerless to prevent such disclosure.

If you or your company receive a subpoena from a government agency (federal, state or local), please contact Avi Moskowitz to discuss.