Lang, Duggan author article in SC Lawyer magazine

COLUMBIA, SC – What do Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Henry Cisneros, and Michael Cohen all have in common, aside from their well-publicized falls from grace?

Each was convicted of a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 1001 – making a false, fictious or fraudulent statement to a federal investigator. In other words, a lie or a cover-up.

Callison Tighe attorneys Louis Lang and Ian Duggan wrote about the false statements statute, its history, concerns about its application and recent rulings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the July edition of SC Lawyer.

The law has far-reaching applications, not only in criminal cases, but also in whistleblower actions. For those answering investigators’ questions, there’s danger, and potential criminal culpability, in walking into a “perjury trap.” That’s why many attorneys advise clients to say nothing to investigators unless their lawyer is present.

“What  §1001 does, like the spider saying to the fly, ‘walk into my parlor …’ is allow the government to invite the commission of a federal felony simply by asking a question to which it often already knows the answer,” Mr. Lang and Mr. Duggan wrote.

A partner at Callison Tighe, Mr. Lang has 30 years’ experience at a litigator. His practice includes federal criminal defense.

Mr. Duggan also is an experienced litigator whose practice includes white-collar crime and qui tam “whistleblower” matters.

In advising clients, both Mr. Lang and Mr. Duggan rely upon their experiences in government service. Mr. Lang is a retired reserve officer of the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Mr. Duggan previously served as a senior trial counsel and special assistant US attorney while on active duty with the United States Air Force and is a current judge advocate in the SC Air National Guard.