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21 Jan 24

What to Do When Your Business Receives a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

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Last Updated on: 21st January 2024, 10:46 pm

What to Do When Your Business Receives a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

Receiving a federal grand jury subpoena can be an intimidating and stressful experience for any business. However, there are steps you can take to appropriately respond and protect your legal rights. This article provides an overview of federal grand juries, outlines best practices for responding to a federal subpoena, and shares helpful legal resources.

What is a Federal Grand Jury?

A federal grand jury is a group of 16 to 23 citizens that determines whether there is probable cause that a crime has been committed and that a criminal indictment should be issued. Federal grand juries have the power to subpoena documents, physical evidence, and witness testimony.If a federal grand jury subpoenas your business, it means they are investigating some issue related to your company and want additional information to assist with their investigation. Reasons your business may receive a federal grand jury subpoena include:

  • Suspected financial crimes like tax evasion, money laundering, or fraud
  • Antitrust violations
  • Violations of federal regulations

Initial Steps if You Receive a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

If your business receives a federal grand jury subpoena, you should take the following steps:

1. Do Not Ignore It

It’s crucial not to ignore a federal subpoena, as this could lead to contempt charges. You should immediately notify appropriate people at your company that you have received a subpoena so you can coordinate an appropriate response.

2. Carefully Review the Subpoena

Closely review all parts of the subpoena so you understand what information the grand jury is seeking and can identify where that information resides within your company. Note any deadlines for responding.

3. Notify Your Board and Legal Counsel

Alert your board of directors and retain legal counsel with relevant federal experience, such as white collar criminal defense attorneys. An experienced attorney can guide your response and protect privileged information.

Best Practices for Responding

Once you’ve completed the initial steps above, you can move forward with appropriately responding to the subpoena. Best practices include:

Locate Relevant Information

Work with appropriate teams in your company to gather the physical records and electronically stored information requested by the grand jury.

Avoid Obstruction

Be careful not to destroy any relevant materials after receiving a subpoena, as this could constitute obstruction of justice. Preserve pertinent documents and communications.

Protect Privileged Information

Your attorney can help determine if any materials requested are protected by attorney-client privilege or work product protections and should not be disclosed.

Meet Deadlines

Make sure your company responds to all requests by any deadlines listed in the subpoena and seeks extensions if necessary.

Prepare Witnesses

If employees receive individual subpoenas to testify, help prepare them to cooperate fully and testify truthfully. Going over likely questions with legal counsel can help calm nerves.

Legal Resources

Responding appropriately to a federal grand jury subpoena takes expertise. Connecting with the following legal resources can help protect your rights:

When to Retain Legal Counsel

As soon as your business receives a federal grand jury subpoena related to a criminal investigation, it’s wise to retain legal counsel to protect your rights. The stakes are high, and experienced legal advice can help avoid missteps. Reach out to a qualified white collar criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation and ensure your response is in full compliance. With proper support, you can appropriately address investigative inquiries while keeping your business interests protected.

References

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/publications/teaching-legal-docs/what-is-a-grand-jury/
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/responding-to-a-federal-grand-jury-subpoena-guide-for-companies
[3 to 5] https://www.americanbar.org/groups/business_law/safeguardingtradesecrets/resources/federal/
[6 to 9] https://www.nacdl.org/getattachment/a92d7c30-ec94-48cd-9a3b-38597b9fb50d/federal-grand-jury-practice-a-primer-for-the-criminal-lawyer.pdf https://www.nacdl.org/getattachment/a92d7c30-ec94-48cd-9a3b-38597b9fb50d/federal-grand-jury-practice-a-primer-for-the-criminal-lawyer.pdf