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1746. Elements of Perjury—Making of a False Statement

The second essential element of a perjury offense is that the defendant must have made a false statement. The indictment should set forth the precise falsehoods alleged and the factual basis of their falsity, such that the jury can determine their veracity, and also allow meaningful judicial review. United States v. Reilly, 33 F.3d 1396, 1417 (3d Cir. 1994). In determining the falsity of the defendant's statement, neither the court nor the trial jury must accept the defendant's interpretation; instead, the statement should be examined in context. Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352, 355 (1973). Words clear on their face are to be understood in their common sense and usage unless the context makes it clear that a different sense or usage was intended. United States v. Fulbright, 804 F.2d 847, 851 (5th Cir. 1986). See also, United States v. Robbins, 997 F.2d 390, 395 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 948 (1993).

[cited in JM 9-69.200]

Updated January 17, 2020