Suppose a person has been convicted of murder. He did it. He bribes witnesses and manufactures evidence to clear himself while in jail. How do you say this in one word or phrase? It's as simple as:

He ____.

The thesaurus entries for 'exonerate' (like 'absolve' or 'exculpate') all seem to lean towards innocence. An answer doesn't have to be formal or informal; anything where you don't have to explicitly specify 'false' and 'not found guilty'.

  • Are you specifically looking for a word for this exact situation? I don’t think there’s a word for this that doesn’t also apply to someone who bribes witnesses, etc., during trial and manages to get off scot-free without ever being convicted. Feb 7, 2019 at 23:48
  • I suspect there is a single word which describes this situation. But you can use phrase: Got acquitted by bribery.
    – Ubi.B
    Mar 10, 2019 at 8:02

2 Answers 2


Your question is a little unclear. If someone has already been convicted of a crime, they wouldn't be bribing witnesses nor particularly manufacturing evidence unless they were attempting to introduce new evidence to contradict existing evidence in an appeal. All of the original witness testimony and material evidence would be a matter of court record and virtually indisputable. Until a court of appeals reversed the previous conviction, they would be considered a convicted felon.

FWIW, it is typically a lot harder to reverse a conviction on appeal then to beat the original charge.

However, if they were charged with an offence then bribed witnesses and/or manufactured evidence that confounded the prosecution's case against them then it could be said that they:

  1. got off scot-free
  2. beat the rap
  3. were left unpunished
  4. got away with murder
  5. saved their hide

What is the word or words for when a person gets himself falsely exonerated for a crime?

to get off TFD an idiom

To cause someone to receive a less severe punishment or avoid punishment altogether. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "get" and "off."

As in:

Do you really think you can get this guy off with a lighter sentence?


To receive a less severe punishment or avoid punishment altogether.

As in:

I can't believe that known criminal got off with such a light sentence.

  • 3
    I'm not sure "got off" implies guilt; I think you could someone who is innocent was got off when found not guilty. Unlike "get away with", which means they are guilty but avoided punishment. (But isn't specific to the questioner's case.)
    – user323578
    Mar 10, 2019 at 0:06

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