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Criminal Resource Manual 1743 Perjury -- Overview Of 18 U.S.C. §1621 And 1623 Violations


Perjury—Overview of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1621 and 1623 Violations

Several Federal statutes criminalize perjury and related false statements. The two most commonly used statutes for perjury offenses are 18 U.S.C. §§ 1621 and 1623. Section 1621 is the traditional, broadly applicable perjury statute, and is used to prosecute perjuries committed before legislative, administrative or judicial bodies. Section 1623, added in 1970, eliminated some of the proof problems associated with these difficult prosecutions, but Congress limited its applicability to false statements before Federal courts and grand juries. In Hubbard v. United States, 115 S.Ct. 1754, 1764 & n.15 (1995), the Supreme Court noted that these statutes, as well as sections 1503 (obstruction) and 287 (false claims) can apply to and penalize false statements made to the Judicial Branch. The Court also specifically found the Federal false statement statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, inapplicable to statements to the judiciary. However, in 1996, Congress amended the §  1001 in the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996, P.L. 104-292, H.R. 3166, Oct. 11, 1996. The amendment restored the Department's ability to prosecute false statements made to the legislative and judicial branches. See also this Manual at 902 et seq.

[cited in USAM 9-69.200]

Updated February 19, 2015