I’m frequently asked by clients whether they should answer questions from the FBI local detectives or any other police agency.
The simple answer to that question is absolutely, positively, hell no! While it’s a crime to lie to the FBI, that doesn’t mean that you have to talk to them. You should never talk to the FBI without your lawyer present.
If the FBI contacts you, and wants you to answer questions, you should say “I invoke my right to counsel. I won’t answer any questions without my lawyer present and I wish to remain silent.” Then pick up the phone and call.
Real life examples:
Doing it wrong
Agent Smith: Hi, I am special agent Angelica Smith with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and this is my colleague special agent Christina Moore. Are you Mr. Adams?
Adams: That’s me. What’s up?
Agent Smith: Nothing to worry about. You’re not in any trouble but we could use your help. We have a few questions about a friend. Do you mind we come in for a minute?
Adams: Respectfully, I do mind. My lawyer would kill me if I ever answered questions from law enforcement without him present. Here is his card.
Agent Smith: Oh we don’t need to make this formal. It’s just a conversation. I’m on your side. Let’s do this the easy way.