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A person cannot be charged with making a false statement for falsely denying guilt in response to an investigator's question.


By its terms18 U.S.C. § 1001 (1988 ed.) provides: “Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” It covers “any” false statement - that is, a false statement “of whatever kind,” United States v. Gonzales, 520 U.S. 1, 5 (1997) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).


The word “no” in response to a question assuredly makes a “statement,” see, e.g., Webster's New International Dictionary 2461 (2d ed. 1950) (def.2: “That which is stated; an embodiment in words of facts or opinions”), and petitioner does not contest that his utterance was false or that it was made “knowingly and willfully.” In fact, petitioner concedes ...

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