“Defendants and Witnesses before other Federal and State Agencies” can have slightly different meanings depending on whether the federal or state governmental agency is conducting an investigation, or whether it has instituted a formal administrative proceeding or filed a lawsuit in court against a person or a company. Each agency may have its own rules that it follows, which may be different from the rules of other agencies.In the context of an agency investigation, “witnesses” are individuals who provide information to the agency. Sometimes people reach out to an agency on their own because they have information about a violation of laws or rules that they think the agency should know about. Other times, the agency may ask someone to talk to it over the telephone or to come in to the agency’s offices to talk about something. Sometimes the agency thinks that a person might have some information, but it is not certain. This sometimes happens when the agency is investigating something and wants to talk to everyone who worked in a company, office, or department to find out who, if anyone, may know something about what the agency thinks happened.
A witness may be a person who did nothing wrong but who came across some information that one or more other people may have done something wrong. A witness may also be someone who may have done something wrong or helped others to do something wrong; such people are sometimes referred to as “subjects” or “targets” of an investigation. A “subject” of an investigation usually means someone who the agency thinks may or may not have done something wrong, but it cannot be certain without more information. “Target” is usually used to refer to someone who the agency thinks actually did do something wrong, based on information that the agency has at the time.
Over the course of an agency investigation, someone who the agency initially believes may be just a witness may come to be viewed as a “subject” or a “target”. Likewise, someone who the agency initially believes may be a potential “subject” or “target” may come to be viewed as just an innocent witness. During an investigation, sometimes people outside of the government agency will refer to a “target” of the investigation as a “defendant” in the investigation.
If the agency brings a formal case against a person or company, it might bring that case in an administrative proceeding or it might bring a lawsuit in court, depending on the rules of that particular agency. A person or company that a government agency is suing, in either an administrative proceeding or in a courtroom lawsuit, is also referred to as a “defendant” or a “respondent”.
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Defendants and Witnesses Before Other Federal And State Agencies | Federal Defendant | Federal Witness