US Supreme Court Rules On Honest Services Law
Albany, NY – The United States Supreme court has issued a decision on the law used by prosecutors to convict former New York State Senator Joseph Bruno on two federal fraud counts. The ruling is expected to affect Bruno's case. WAMC's Steve Felano has more...
The Court has sided with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling in limiting the use of a federal fraud law that has been a favorite of white-collar crime prosecutors. The court said today the ``honest services'' law could not be used in convicting Skilling for his role in the collapse of Enron. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her majority opinion that the ruling does not necessarily require Skilling's conviction to be overturned. During arguments on this case last December, several justices seemed inclined to limit prosecutors' use of this law, which critics have said is vague and has been used to make a crime out of mistakes and minor transgressions in the business and political world.
U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe, who presided at former New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's trial, has said he would review the top court rulings, and call defense lawyers and prosecutors back to court. Defense attorney William Dreyer says he'll meet with prosecutors as soon as possible and seek a meeting with the judge. In one of three rulings issued, the Supreme Court limited the statute, but said prosecutors may seek honest services fraud convictions in cases where they present evidence of bribes or kickbacks.
Bruno was convicted of denying New Yorkers his honest services by making money through a sideline consulting business.
Steve Felano, WAMC News.