Target Letters: Terminology
I'm beginning to see some people, including at least one news service, misapply the term "target letter." Just so it's clear, a "target letter" is what the prosecutor provides to a witness who has been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. It is an advisement of rights, particularly the right to counsel and the right to not testify.
Once the investigation is complete and the grand jury has heard all the evidence and is about to return Indictments, target letters are no longer used. [ Addition by LNILR: They are not re-issued everytime a witness/target comes in. Any competent defense lawyer has already met with the prosecutor to learn the client's status and role in the alleged offense under investigation. Target letters go out after the targets and subjects are identified by the prosecutor and investigators. The investigation may be years old before target letters go out. A "target letter" is just what it implies: You are likely going to be indicted, and you better act accordingly.]
Once an indictment is returned, the Prosecutor may notify the lawyer for the indicted person to make agreements on whether a summons will issue or arrest warrants, and, if it's going to be an arrest warrant, whether the person will be allowed to surrender at the courthouse or FBI office rather than be arrested at home or at work and bail amounts can be agreed upon. At this point, the case is past the "target letter" stage. The notification of indictment and arranging surrender can be formal (by letter) or by a telephone call.
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