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Perjury - Related Offenses

false statement government statements

Subornation. Willfully procuring another person to commit perjury was traditionally considered to be a separate offense called subornation of perjury. This separate offense is largely superfluous, however, because one who causes or induces another to commit a crime is punishable under general principles of accomplice liability or solicitation. Although some states and the federal government still recognize subornation as a separate offense, the Model Penal Code recommends that the separate offense be eliminated.

False statement. Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1001) makes it a crime to make a false statement to the government. The elements of this offense are substantially similar to the elements of perjury. The statement must be false, it must be made "knowingly and willfully," and it must be material. Unlike with perjury, the statement need not be made under oath; however, it must be made in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the federal government. The jurisdictional element is construed broadly and includes not only false statements made directly to the government (for example, statements to an F.B.I. agent about an ongoing investigation), but also false statements made indirectly to the government (for example, statements to a defense contractor that will be relied upon by the government).

A few states have enacted general laws against making false statements to public officials or agencies, but most of those laws are limited to written statements, and some require that the statement be made after written notice that a false statement is punishable as a crime.

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