Is An Answer That Is Literally True but Not Responsive Considered Perjury ?
In Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 (1973), the United States Supreme Court held that an answer that is literally true but not responsive will not support a perjury conviction.
In that case, the defendant had answered in the negative to the question whether he had any bank accounts in Swiss banks.
To the next question: "have you ever?" the answer was: "the company had an account there for about six months, in Zurich."
The answer was literally true, but did not reveal that Bronston had himself maintained a Swiss bank account in the past.
The Supreme Court reversed the conviction and held that "the burden is on the questioner to pin the witness down to the specific object of the questioner's inquiry." (Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352, 34 L. Ed. 2d 568, 93 S. Ct. 595 supra at 360.
The Court also emphasized that "precise questioning is imperative as predicate for the offense of perjury." (14, at 362.)