Advising a Witness To Exercise His Privilege Against Self-Incrimination When the Adviser’s Motive Is To Protect Himself Is an Obstruction of Justice-Cole v. United States

Defendant, who had perjured himself before a federal grand jury, feared that the testimony of his former employee before the same body would reveal the perjury. Knowing that the employee had previously filed a false affidavit with the McClellan Committee, defendant was able to persuade him to invoke his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. When the former employee later voluntarily made a full disclosure to government agents, defendant was indicted by a second grand jury and convicted of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the administration of justice in violation of section 1503 of the Federal Criminal Code. On appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, held, affirmed. One who, with a corrupt motive, advises a witness to exercise his constitutional privilege against self-incrimination obstructs the administration of justice.