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"Why do you need a lawyer if you haven't done anything wrong?"

This is what suspect after suspect is told by most investigators - including federal agents - when they say they want to talk with an attorney before being interviewed.  To make matters worse, federal agents have been employing a long-standing "tradition" of tricking interrogation subjects into making a false statement -- which, though not a single person outside the criminal justice system knows is a five-year felony.  It's under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1001 -- false statements to a federal agent.

(There is no comparable statute in Michigan.)

So, they ask the subject questions that they already know the answers to, in the hope the person will lie because of fear, guilt, protecting a relative or friend or a host of other reasons.  Now they have him where they want him - you're facing five years in prison because you just lied to us, and you have no alternative but to cooperate.

Finally the Justice Department has relented and told the Courts that it will no longer prosecute someone for these 1001 violations unless they actually knew that lying was a federal crime.

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