These Attorneys Should Have Known Better

A criminal defense attorney in South Carolina recently pled guilty to obstruction of justice for making materially false statements to law enforcement agents. The attorney had been representing a client on federal drug charges. During the prosecution of that case, federal agents asked the attorney about the whereabouts of certain vehicles the client had purchased with illegal proceeds of his drug trafficking. On five different occasions, the attorney lied to the agents in response to their questions.

Making false statements to law enforcement often leads to criminal charges. You may recall the case of Scooter Libby, the former Chief of Staff of then Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby (who was also a lawyer) was questioned by the FBI during their investigation surrounding the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert agent of the CIA. The leak of her identity was itself a criminal offense. No one ended up being prosecuted for that offense. But Scooter Libby was prosecuted and convicted of lying to the FBI about what he knew about that matter.

If you are contacted by a law enforcement agency regarding questions they have about a particular matter they are investigating, DO NOT agree to speak to them without first contacting a criminal defense attorney for advice. The last thing you want is to either implicate yourself in the matter they are investigating or to be subject to an obstruction charge for giving false statements.