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Proving the elements of bribery

The influence exerted on public servants or employees through the offer of anything of value is called bribery.  It involves the offer and acceptance of gifts or payment of cash to get a favorable treatment. The bribe offered can take various forms.

The intention of the person who gives the bribe is to alter the decision of the person being offered the bribe. There is no requirement of a formal agreement between the person giving the bribe and the person accepting the bribe. However, an essential element is to show the existence of 'corrupt intent'. It is only in this way that both, the person accepting and the person offering the bribe, can be liable for bribery. Despite there being no requirement for formal agreement, the prosecutor must establish that there was an agreement in place. For example, video evidence of a politician accepting cash may suffice to prove the existence of an agreement.

Federal government employees, if caught in the act, are treated differently as specified by the government. There are specific elements described by the federal government:

The public official being charged with bribery includes all the federal employees ranging from low-level employees to high-ranking elected officials.

  • There is something of value offered.
  • The bribery must induce the public official to perform an official act.
  • The public official must be authorized to commit the official act.
  • The party offering the bribe must have an intent to influence the public official.
  • There must be a causal link between the offered bribe and the official act.

A charge of bribery can be disastrous for both your career and reputation. Therefore, it is highly recommended to protect yourself by consulting an accomplished attorney.

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