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How to handle subpoena situation for federal grand jury (scared)

Cincinnati, OH |

I work for a small company directly for the owner. The owner has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury. I believe he is the target of the grand jury. If I get subpoenaed, that will create a very awkward situation as they may ask me questions about what my boss did. My employer will also want to give me the same attorney that works for the company and my boss. The grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret, but then my company's attorney will tell my boss what happened during my testimony. Maybe I will never get subpoenaed, but I would rather be ready ahead of time. If I quit, will I get unemployment? How should I handle the situation? I don't feel I did anything illegal. Thank you so much

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Attorney answers 4


Any attorney assigned to represent you will not be permitted in the Grand Jury room to hear your testimony. The only way the attorney will know what you testified to is if you tell him or her.

Why would you quit your job? There is no reason to do so.

Additionally, if you have information that your boss may have broken the law, the same attorney who represents your boss cannot possibly represent you due to the inherent and actual conflict of interest. You should hire independent legal counsel, if you can afford it, to advise you prior to your testimony and to be outside the Grand Jury room should you have questions during your testimony.

Finally, perjury before the Grand Jury is a very serious offense. You should not in any way shade your testimony just to potentially save your job.

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You never know who will be implicated in a federal investigation. I think it would be a good idea to consult an attorney who is experienced in federal criminal defense work. And I do not like the idea of you being represented by an attorney who also represents your company and your employer. I would not go along with that. Hire your own attorney. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, contact the Federal Defender Office in your district. And whether you "feel you did anything illegal" doesn't mean a thing. Let your attorney try to probe this, and consider yourself a potential target until you are reliably assured otherwise.


Your primary concern must be yourself and not your boss. I understand that your job is important, but nothing is more important than your freedom. Therefore, the first step is to retain a lawyer to represent you, or request that a lawyer be appointed by the district court to represent you. The second step is for your lawyer to determine whether the Government has made a determination that you will be a witness, or that you are a subject of the investigation (you may or may not be criminally liable) or a target of the investigation (you will be named as a defendant in any forthcoming indictment). The third step will depend upon the result of the second step. Regardless, you need your own attorney as quickly as possible (your boss's attorney cannot represent you because it would present a conflict of interest for him in addition to its being shockingly unethical if he or she agreed to do so). Please call or email if you need further advice.

Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.


First, you should be certain that all your actions are lawful: the authorities will be keeping tabs on the whole operation, and no job is worth prison time.

Second, you should be prepared to be asked about the goings-on at your company, either by means of a grand jury subpoena, or a surprise visit by Federal agents to your home. Under no circumstances should you lie to them., but you may remain silent and direct them to speak with your attorney.

Third, I highly recommend retaining an attorney who can assist you with this matter.

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