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FBI Leaks and the Sanctity of Grand Jury Secrecy

Publisher: Law360
April 4, 2017
Day Pitney Author(s) Daniel E. Wenner

Dan Wenner authored an article, "FBI Leaks and the Sanctity of Grand Jury Secrecy," published in Law360. The article uses a recent allegation of leaked information by FBI Special Agent David Chaves as a springboard to canvass the history and importance of grand-jury secrecy, codified in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e). Chaves admitted leaking to the press details about a grand-jury investigation, which prompted the court to consider dismissing the charges against the defendant in the case and prompted the U.S. Attorney's Office to refer Chaves to the relevant authorities to investigate his conduct. In the article, Wenner detailed the historic importance of grand-jury secrecy and explained the scope of Rule 6(e). He explained that secrecy of the grand jury is sacrosanct, but noted that defense counsel often try to lift the veil of the grand jury to help defend their clients. Noting that those attempts usually fail, Wenner suggested that "this public episode might engender more attacks on the grand jury process by defendants in federal criminal prosecutions."

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