Brief filed: 03/14/2012
United States v. Ring
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 11-3100
In Skilling v. United States(2010), the Supreme Court held that to prove “honest services” fraud under 18 U.S.C. §1346, the government must prove bribery and quid pro quo—an exchange of a thing of value and an official act taken in response. In this case, the district court’s instructions read the bribery requirement out of the statute, permitting the jury to convict the appellant without any showing of quid pro quo, but only a unilateral “intent to influence.” The lower court’s interpretation of the statute threatens to chill, even criminalize, a broad range of innocent conduct, particularly campaign contributions.
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