Unindicted co-conspirator

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An unindicted co-conspirator (sic), or unindicted conspirator, is a person or entity that is alleged in an indictment to have engaged in conspiracy, but who is not charged in the same indictment. Prosecutors choose to name persons as unindicted co-conspirators for a variety of reasons including grants of immunity, pragmatic considerations, and evidentiary concerns.

The United States Attorneys' Manual generally recommends against naming unindicted co-conspirators, although their use is not generally prohibited by law or policy.[1] Some commentators have raised due-process concerns over the use of unindicted co-conspirators.[2] Although there have been few cases on the subject, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed these concerns in 1975 United States v. Briggs.[3]

President Richard Nixon[edit]

The term unindicted co-conspirator was familiarized in 1974 when then U.S. President Richard Nixon was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in indictments stemming from the Watergate Investigation. Nixon was not indicted, because of concerns about whether the United States Constitution allowed the indictment of a sitting President (see Executive privilege).


  1. ^ "9-11.130 Limitation on Naming Persons as Unindicted Co-Conspirators". United States Attorneys' Manual. Offices of the United States Attorneys. April 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  2. ^ Robbins, Ira P. (2004). "Guilty Without Charge: Assessing the Due Process Rights of Unindicted Co-Conspirators". Federal Courts Law Review No. 1. pp. 1–26. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "UNITED STATES v. BRIGGS, 514 F.2d 794 (5th Cir. 1975)". Casetext. Casetext, Inc. June 12, 1975. Retrieved May 18, 2018.