Supreme Court to Weigh Scope of Federal Bribery Statute

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2024 | Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes, Felonies |

US Supreme Court to Review Potential Limits of Statute

A case pending before the Supreme Court, Snyder v. United States, is set for oral arguments on April 14, 2024, with a ruling expected in the following months which could impact how and when the federal government prosecutes individuals under what is titled Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds or section 666 of Title 18 of the United States Code. At issue is whether the statute encompasses conduct other than a “quid-pro-quo” for an official act from a public official. In other words, does an after-the-fact reward that comes after a favorable action has been taken by the public official amount to criminal conduct covered by the statute. In that case, the now former mayor of Portage, Indiana was convicted of violating the federal bribery statute when he was paid $13,000 by Great Lakes Peterbilt for consulting fees after the city awarded a contract to the business, but crucially he was paid for his services after bidding was complete on the government contract. Thus, Snyder argues, because there was not a quid pro quo arrangement in place at the time, he did not violate the statute.

Sentencing Delayed Until Supreme Court Ruling

Four individuals in Chicago convicted in what has been referred to as the ComEd bribery scandal had their sentencing postponed while the United States Supreme Court weighs the limits of the federal statute concerning gratuities and bribery, which could impact the individuals’ respective convictions. In delaying their respective sentencings, United States District Judge Harry Leinenweber quoted from the prosecutions opening statements at the trial, noting the government argued that the defendants’ “sought to reward [former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan] for past beneficial conduct to Commonwealth Edison.” Obviously, should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the defense in the Snyder case, the convictions of these four could be affected. Former Speaker Madigan’s pending trial was delayed earlier this year for the same reason. Anyone facing corruption charges or who is the subject of an investigation should make sure they have experienced attorneys who are aware of and monitoring the current legal challenges percolating in the courts and are capable of effectively implementing them into your defense strategy.


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