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The term “speaking indictment” refers to indictments that go beyond the Fed.R.Crim.P. 7(c)(1) requirement of a “plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged” — i.e., an indictment that does more than simply track the statutory charging language and state the who, what, when, where and the elements of the crime, the manner and means, and, for Section 371 conspiracies, overt acts. The use of speaking indictments is often justified as providing notice to defendants of allegations the absence of which might otherwise provoke pretrial motions to dismiss or for a bill of particulars. See Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Resource Manual at § 214 (“The [indictment] drafter must afford the defendant … a document … that is sufficiently descriptive to permit the defendant to prepare a defense, and to invoke the double jeopardy provision of the Fifth Amendment, if appropriate.”) (emphasis added). Indeed, prosecutors and courts often cite to “speaking indictments” as a reason to deny a defense motion for a bill of particulars. See, e.g., United States v. Schaefer, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51897 *9-12 (N.D.Ind. April 19, 2016).
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By Jacqueline C. Wolff, Scott T. Lashway, and Matthew M.K. Stein
In times of crisis, criminal activity — particularly crimes involving theft and fraud — tend to spike. There is no reason to believe that the Covid-19 pandemic and the unrest in the financial markets will be any different. An important difference for company counsel, however, will be in how the malfeasance, negligence or wrongdoing can be investigated.
By John Kelly
The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in landlords and tenants closely reviewing a clause in their lease that was long considered unimportant boilerplate. Yes, we are referring to the “force majeure” provision.
By C. Ryan Barber
In a practice that prizes in-person meetings, virtual communication has become commonplace.
By Elkan Abramowitz and Jonathan Sack
This article discusses the standard for ordering a bill of particulars in the Second Circuit, drawing a comparison with the standard for civil fraud claims, and then describes a recent decision ordering a bill of particulars in the high-profile prosecution growing out of the Theranos blood-testing scandal. The decision in that case highlights the importance of seeking bills of particulars in fraud cases.