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A civil court case in New York City (Manhattan) is still being decided and a attorney brought these issues to the judge. During the proceedings of the trial, one side allegedly bribed witnesses and falsified evidence. These actions are not the subject of the case but occurred during the proceedings. As these are criminal offenses, a separate criminal complaint is sought by the party who was the victim of the opposing party's criminal deeds of bribery and falsifying evidence.

I looked at the Manhattan District Attorney's website but didn't see any department categories which cover bribing a witness or falsifying evidence. I've also done many searches on the web and though info was found about the laws, no information was found re how to file such a complaint which leads me to believe that this is basically not done by ordinary citizens.

If anyone has any guidance, experience or knowledge as to how the process to seek to have criminal charges filed for these actions (separate from a civil action), it would be greatly appreciated. Also if anyone knows if, despite being against the law, that this type of crime is rarely prosecuted, kindly also share your experience.

In case it's not clear, I seek to have criminal charges filed not a civil action filed. Would this type of complaint be filed with the NYC police dept, the Manhattan DA or some other entity?

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  • Edited to try to make it not a request for personal legal advice, since that would make a question off-topic here. Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 1:30

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The complaints about the alleged criminal conduct could be lodged with the NYPD or with the DA.

In practice, the chances of those charges being brought criminally (even in the face of unequivocal evidence), are almost nil. This conduct happens not infrequently, and is almost never criminally prosecuted. Police and the NYPD generally treat it is a "civil matter" except in the most rare cases, despite the fact that the conduct may violate criminal law. Usually, there are only prosecutions if there is a pattern of conduct by a repeat litigant that exploits someone who does not have access to counsel to represent them (e.g. widows, orphans, and undocumented immigrants). The number of cases brought criminally in this fact pattern in the entire State of New York is unlikely to be more than half a dozen a year in the entire state out of many thousands of instances of this happening every year, and quite possibly only one or two a year.

It would be unwise to pursue this course of action and would pose a greater risk that your own attorneys would be sanctioned (for violating the ethical rule against using criminal proceedings to gain advantage in a civil matter) than it would of providing a positive benefit to the victim of this conduct.

The most effective means of obtaining relief would be to file a motion with the judge in the underlying case seeking sanctions against the offending party (or parties), or seeking to hold the offending party (or parties) in contempt of court in the underlying action.

If an attorney was involved in the misconduct, a complaint to the attorney discipline officials in the State of New York could result in sanctions against the attorney, although this would not result in benefit to the aggrieved party (nor would criminal charges).

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Highly unlikely there is a civil action possible in this instance. To the extent there could be, it would almost surely need to be filed by the victim of the bribe.

I'm pretty sure the only area where civil suits for bribery are not rare is in the wake of a conviction under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. That narrative would go something like: company operating overseas bribes a foreign government official (for approval of X permit, or the like), DOJ prosecutes company, conviction obtained, and subsequently shareholders and/or business partners, etc., of company sue company or its exec(s) claiming compensable injury resulting from the company's violation of the FCPA.

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  • I edited my question since based on this answer, my question was not clear. I was seeking to find out how and where a victim can file a criminal complaint when an opposing party in a civil case bribes a witness and falsifies evidence. This occurred in a civil action but criminal charges are sought and strongly supported. Would the person file a complaint with the police or the Manhattan DA?
    – mecappy
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 3:59

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