Virginia Beach Federal Bribery Prosecution

Federal bribery cases in Virginia Beach are prosecuted by the U.S. attorney’s office who brings the indictment and presents the indictment in a federal court. Charges that are brought in federal court tend to be more serious and handled more aggressively.

When a person is dealing with federal agents, the federal government has more resources to dedicate towards an investigation and prosecution than a state agency is. If they make a person’s prosecution a priority, they are more capable of carrying it out in a local Commonwealth attorney’s office. That being said, it imperative for someone that has been charged with federal bribery so seek the help of an experienced Virginia Beach fraud lawyer.

What Must Prosecutors Prove?

In a Virginia Beach federal bribery prosecution, prosecutors have to show that an individual offered a gift to a public official – something of value – in exchange for an act by the government official. They need to show that those two, the official act and the gift, were connected.

Prosecutors will look for the nexus between the gift and the official act and to see how strong the two are because that will determine the likelihood of success.

Evidence Used in Bribery Cases

Evidence in a federal bribery prosecution includes statements by the parties, even the elected official or the bribee, and the gifts themselves. As long as the items have something indicating that there was a connection, like financial records that show transactions from one party to another, a person can get prosecuted for a charge.

Highly Contested Elements in Court

A big highly contested element is the showing of intent. It is necessary to show this to get a conviction. A person has to show a connection between the item and an official act. The prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person gives an elected official money to get a certain outcome so that is one area. Another area of challenge is whether or not a person had asked the elected official to do something, and whether or not it was an action within their duty as an elected official or public official.

Proving Intent to Influence

Sometimes cases will involve statements where one party says, “If you give me $10,000, I will vote yes.” Barring that, they might make it through circumstantial cases where they show that there was a gift offer and an action taken by the elected official and they show how this benefited the alleged bribee. They will try to show that the person who made this gift knew that the result would help them. If there are public statements by the elected official, which had previously come out against a certain bail and then they changed their mind and that change of heart was shortly around the time these gifts are made, that can be brought up.

Prosecution for Conspiracy to Commit Bribery

A person does not have to show that there was any completed act in a conspiracy charge, and basically that they and another person had a plot to bribe a public official. A person does not have to show that a bribe was made – just that there was a plan to offer a briber.

In federal court, a person has to show an overt act had taken place and that there was something done to further conspiracy. Conspiracy charges are easier to prove – the statements of co-conspirators are admissible in a conspiracy case. If one works for other people and a person is charged with conspiracy, then the other people set out of out court could be used in their case. Whereas, if a person is not charged with conspiracy and they cannot demonstrate a conspiracy, those statements cannot come.

Bribery charges are more frequent, but bribery and conspiracy are not usually separated.

Federal Bribery as Public Cases

Once a person is charged, it becomes a matter of public record. Depending on who is involved, the media can be involved. The case can go to media very quickly with instant photography and social media. It can get out of hand.

Hiring a Lawyer

Virginia Beach federal bribery prosecutions are taken very seriously. When public trust is involved, the government is very concerned. The federal government has significant resources, more resources than a local agency. If they still desire to prosecute a person, they have more manpower and more financial ability to go after them. That is why it is imperative for a person to seek the guidance of a professional attorney to try to ensure the best outcome.