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Government attorney who presents the state's case against the defendant in a criminal prosecution. In some countries (France, Japan), public prosecution is carried out by a single office. In the U.S., states and counties have their own prosecutors. Only at the federal level is the system unitary; the U.S. attorney general's office appoints a U.S. attorney for each federal district. In most state and local jurisdictions, prosecutors are elected to office. Whether elected or appointed, prosecutors are often subject to political pressures. A prosecutor takes charge of the investigation once a crime has been committed, presents evidence at a hearing before a grand jury, and questions witnesses during the trial. See alsoindependent counsel.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on prosecutor, visit Britannica.com.