Warnings to Trump Against Witness Tampering
When Donald J. Trump met the magistrate judge who was assigned to deal with Trump’s third criminal indictment, he was admonished not to intimidate or retaliate against any witnesses or others who provide information in the case against him. It wasn’t long before Mr. Trump was pushing that boundary—as less than a day later he loudly (in all caps) warned on his social media platform that he’d be coming after anyone that came after him. A day after that he made reproachful comments about former vice president Mike Pence, and has gone so far as to say that Pence has gone to the “dark side.” So, are these the kind of comments that could land Mr. Trump in any meaningful hot water? If so, is it a matter of political targeting, or is witness intimidation an issue that courts deal with on a regular basis?
How Pervasive is the Problem of Witness Tampering?
Witness intimidation is a real and increasing issue. Studies indicate that over one-third of witnesses in one county had experienced direct threats, and nearly 60 percent were afraid of retaliation. Many prosecutors suspect that over 75 percent of violent crimes that are prosecuted involve some level of witness intimidation. In fact, over half of prosecutors in large jurisdictions and over 40 percent of them in smaller ones say witness intimidation is a major issue. Dealing with witness intimidation often results in warnings, sanctions like gag orders or jail time, higher bail requirements, aggressive prosecution of the intimidation, and relocating witnesses.
Case in Point
Sam Bankman-Fried, while awaiting trial in a multibillion-dollar fraud case, was permitted to stay at his parent’s home with an ankle bracelet. But he wound up going to jail after the prosecution accused him of witness tampering. Bankman-Fried had had regular contact with the press through over 1,000 phone calls and more than 100 emails. The thing that eventually led to charges was that Bankman-Fried released Caroline Ellison’s personal diary entries. She is Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and former chief of staff for his company—and was prepared to testify against him. Prosecutors contended that Bankman-Fried indirectly intimidated Ellison through the press.
Facing Witness Tampering Charges
Prosecutors are one the lookout for witness tampering and are eager to charge alleged perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law. To fight these charges, you need a Kissimmee criminal defense attorney. At Salazar & Kelly Law Group, you can count on us to give you the criminal defense you deserve. That could mean significant jail time. To discuss your options, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.