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Grand Jury Witness Information




A Grand Jury consists of from 16 to 23 citizens, who serve for a period of up to 18 months. Members of the Grand Jury are selected at random from the list of prospective jurors, from which trial jurors are also chosen. The Grand Jury inquires into possible violations of Federal law which may have been committed in the Western District of Washington. The law provides that the proceedings before a Grand Jury be conducted in secret. The only individuals who may be present while testimony is being given are members of the Grand Jury, attorneys for the government, the testifying witness, an interpreter when needed, and a court reporter to record the testimony.

If you have been asked to appear before the Grand Jury it is because you may have some information or knowledge about a matter under consideration by the Grand Jury. You may have been a witness to a crime, or heard something about a crime, or have witnessed an event related to the commission of a crime. You may possess information concerning a crime, even though you may not recognize it as such. You will be asked to testify and answer questions concerning the information you may have about matters under consideration by the Grand Jury.

During an appearance before the Grand Jury, a witness is required to answer all questions asked, except where the privilege against self-incrimination would apply. A knowingly false answer to any question could be the basis for a prosecution of the witness for perjury. Anything that a Grand Jury witness says which tends to incriminate him or her may be used against him or her by the Grand Jury, or later used against him or her in court. A witness may consult with an attorney before testifying, and a witness many have an attorney outside the Grand Jury room. If it is desired, the witness will be afforded reasonable opportunity to step outside the Grand Jury room to consult with the attorney before answering any questions. The mere fact that this information is being provided on the website should not be taken as any indication or suggestion that a Grand Jury witness is under investigation or is likely to be charged with a crime.


Grand Jury witnesses are entitled to the same witness fees and travel expenses as all other witnesses. You will receive a $40 witness fee for each day your are required to be in court, or attend a pretrial interview, including travel days. You will not be reimbursed for lost wages. In addition, all legitimate travel expenses related to your testimony will be reimbursed by the government. You will be reimbursed for travel by the least expensive method available. If your testimony requires you to travel by plane or stay overnight, your travel will be arranged through the government travel agency and your airfare and lodging costs will be paid directly by the government. DO NOT MAKE ANY TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS UNTIL YOU HAVE SPOKEN WITH THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE. IF YOU MAKE YOUR OWN TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS WITHOUT CONSULTING WITH THE USAO, WE MAY BE UNABLE TO REIMBURSE YOU IN FULL FOR YOUR COSTS.

You will be reimbursed for mileage, taxi or rideshare fees, ferry fares, tolls, and parking. If two or more witnesses travel in the same privately owned vehicle, only one reimbursement for mileage will be made. If the government requires you to stay overnight, you will also receive a standard per diem to cover your food costs.  IF YOU TRAVEL TO COURT AND RETURN HOME THE SAME DAY, YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE THE PER DIEM. You will be asked to sign a form when you testify which will be submitted to claim reimbursement for your expenses. You will receive payment by mail in the form of a check from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Please contact the Victim-Witness Unit staff to determine your specific entitlement under the law.


Updated July 12, 2022