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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

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The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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Targets, Subjects, And Witnesses In Federal Investigations

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 07:42 am

Targets, Subjects, and Witnesses in Federal Investigations

Being involved in a federal investigation can be scary and confusing. The government may label you a target, subject, or witness, but what do these terms really mean? This article explains the differences and provides tips for navigating a federal probe.

What is a Target?

A target is someone the prosecutor believes committed a crime and intends to charge. According to the Justice Department, a target is a “putative defendant” against whom the government has substantial evidence linking them to a crime[1].

Some signs you may be a target:

  • Receiving a “target letter” saying you’re under investigation
  • Having your home or office searched via a warrant
  • Being asked to testify before a grand jury

What is a Subject?

A subject is someone whose conduct falls within the scope of the investigation[3]. Prosecutors suspect you may have been involved but need more evidence before deciding whether to charge you[4].

Subjects are in a precarious position – you’re not yet a target, but you’re also more than just a witness. Like targets, subjects should invoke the Fifth Amendment if called to testify before a grand jury[5].

If you’re a subject, tread carefully. Consider hiring a lawyer to avoid self-incrimination. Your status could change to target as the investigation progresses.

What is a Witness?

Witnesses have information relevant to the case but are not suspected of wrongdoing[4]. For example, a witness may have documents or testimony that implicates others.

Being a witness is the best position, but that could change. If you misstep during questioning, you could implicate yourself unintentionally. Consult a lawyer before speaking to investigators to avoid this risk.

Tips for Navigating an Investigation

  • Don’t rely on your designation. Your status as target, subject or witness can change at any time.
  • Invoke your rights. Targets and subjects should assert their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before testifying[5].
  • Say nothing without a lawyer. Even if you’re “just a witness,” speak to a lawyer first to avoid accidentally incriminating yourself.
  • Be proactive. Don’t wait to be contacted – hire a lawyer immediately to get ahead of the investigation.
  • Ask questions. Have your lawyer find out what offenses are under investigation and who the targets are.
  • Tread carefully. Even minor misstatements could lead to charges of obstruction of justice or lying to investigators.
  • Seek experienced counsel. Retain a lawyer with specific experience in federal cases. The rules and stakes are higher than state cases.








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