independent counsel

noun

Legal Definition of independent counsel

: an official appointed by the court at the request of the U.S. Attorney General to investigate and prosecute criminal violations by high government officials, members of Congress, or directors of a presidential reelection campaign after a preliminary investigation by the Attorney General finds specific and credible evidence that a crime may have been committed

Note: The use of an independent counsel was codified in the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 and is designed to ensure an impartial investigation (as when the Attorney General would face a conflict of interest). The independent counsel was formally called a special prosecutor until 1983.

Learn More About independent counsel

Dictionary Entries Near independent counsel

independent contractor

independent counsel

independent source

See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Independent counsel.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/independent%20counsel. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!