a. Tampering. A person commits an offense if, believing that an official proceeding or investigation is pending or about to be instituted or has been instituted, he knowingly engages in conduct which a reasonable person would believe would cause a witness or informant to:
(1) Testify or inform falsely;
(2) Withhold any testimony, information, document or thing;
(3) Elude legal process summoning him to testify or supply evidence;
(4) Absent himself from any proceeding or investigation to which he has been legally summoned; or
(5) Otherwise obstruct, delay, prevent or impede an official proceeding or investigation.
Witness tampering is a crime of the first degree if the conduct occurs in connection with an official proceeding or investigation involving any crime enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c. 117 ( C.2C:43-7.2 ) and the actor employs force or threat of force. Witness tampering is a crime of the second degree if the actor employs force or threat of force. Otherwise it is a crime of the third degree. Privileged communications may not be used as evidence in any prosecution for violations of paragraph (2), (3) , (4) or (5).
b. Retaliation against witness or informant. A person commits an offense if he harms another by an unlawful act with purpose to retaliate for or on account of the service of another as a witness or informant. The offense is a crime of the second degree if the actor employs force or threat of force. Otherwise it is a crime of the third degree.
c. Witness or informant taking bribe. A person commits a crime of the third degree if he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit in consideration of his doing any of the things specified in subsection a. (1) through (5) of this section.
d. Bribery of a witness or informant. A person commits a crime of the second degree if he directly or indirectly offers, confers or agrees to confer upon a witness or informant any benefit in consideration of the witness or informant doing any of the things specified in subsection a. (1) through (5) of this section.
e. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 , N.J.S.2C:44-5 or any other provision of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction of an offense that was the subject of the official proceeding or investigation and the sentence imposed pursuant to this section shall be ordered to be served consecutively to that imposed for any such conviction.
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