DA cracking down on witness tampering - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

DA cracking down on witness tampering

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Dougherty District Attorney says he's seeing a spike in witness tampering and ambulance chasing runners for lawyers, and his office is cracking down.

Greg Edwards says both practices are illegal. And he warns even victims of crimes and accidents not to take part.

The D.A. says runners trying to influence victims of crimes or auto crashes are becoming flagrant in Dougherty County, and his office intends to stop it.

The District Attorney says he has seen a spike in witness tampering and witness influencing in recent cases, and he is now cracking down.

Dougherty D.A. Greg Edwards said "It is a crime to influence or bribe a particular witness. So we are going to be pursuing these cases under those statutes."

He says another growing problem is lawyers hiring runners to approach auto crash victims, sometimes while still waiting for help, and push them to seek their services.

Edwards said "It is a crime to try to influence a witness who is a victim of an auto accident, or any other type of civil issue, to go to a particular lawyer." And for the lawyer, it's also a violation of their bar license."

In criminal cases, the D.A. says he is seeing witnesses being offered bribes or threatened.

Edwards said "We've seen situations where witnesses have been contacted by persons representing defendants with the notion that they would try to convince the witness, the victim, to drop charges or change their testimony."

The District Attorney says this illegal and unethical behavior is being investigated by his office, and he will crack down to stop this threat to justice.

Greg Edwards warns witnesses or victims who may have accepted bribes to change their testimony, they run the risk of being prosecuted for giving a false report or statement.

The D-A says if you're approached at a car crash or crime scene by someone saying they represent a lawyer you should hire, you should report that person to the police or call his office at 431-3233.

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