With the news flush with headlines about target letters, some people are wondering what it is. And, for those facing a federal investigation, they may now think that they will receive a target letter prior to any indictment.
What is it?
A target letter is a formal notice from the United States Department of Justice that informs an individual that they are the target of a federal criminal investigation. Target letters are typically sent to individuals who are likely to be indicted by a grand jury, and they provide the recipient with an opportunity to testify before the grand jury or to cooperate with the investigation.
Are they common?
The frequency of use of target letters by the DOJ is not publicly available information. However, it is important to note that not all individuals under federal investigation will receive a target letter prior to an indictment. The decision to send a target letter is made by the United States Attorney’s Office, which forms the prosecutorial arm of the DOJ.
What about Oregon?
In Oregon, as in other states, residents under federal investigation may or may not receive a target letter prior to an indictment. The decision to send a target letter is made on a case-by-case basis and depends on numerous factors, such as the nature of the investigation and the evidence available.
Will I get one?
Maybe. But, do not count on one. If you are under federal investigation and have not received a target letter, it does not necessarily mean that you will not be indicted. Do not wait for one or an indictment. If you know you are under investigation, start building your defense now.