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The Supreme Court’s decision in Skilling v. United States fundamentally altered the landscape of 18 U.S.C. § 1346 honest services fraud prosecutions. Cases and clients at every stage of the criminal adjudication process are affected by the Skilling decision and the uncertain state of law. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice and other organizations are lobbying for a Skilling-fix. NACDL opposes such a fix and any attempts to restore a limitless honest service fraud statute. This page recounts the Supreme Court's review of the Skilling case.
Brief of Amici curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Rutherford Institute in Support of Petition for Certiorari.
Argument: The Court should grant certiorari to make clear that the honest services fraud statute requires the government to prove bribery. The honest services fraud statute is unconstitutionally vague unless limited to bribery, as Skilling requires. The standard applied in this case to prove honest services fraud is inconsistent with this Court’s rulings. The admission of evidence of legal and constitutionally protected campaign contributions in this case, in contravention of this Court’s rulings, will criminalize, and thereby chill, constitutionally protected conduct.