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United States v. Biaggi - 909 F.2d 662 (2d Cir. 1990)

Rule:

With respect to public officials, evidence of the receipt of benefits followed by favorable treatment may suffice to establish circumstantially that the benefits were received for the purpose of being influenced in the future performance of official duties, thereby satisfying the quid pro quo element of bribery.

Facts:

Defendants, a former congressman, the congressman's son, the congressman's law partner, a company president, a borough president, and a federal agency regional director, were indicted and convicted by the trial court of various offenses that arose out their involvement with the affairs of a corporation.

Issue:

Based on the evidence presented, did sufficient evidence support defendants' convictions of bribery?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed some convictions of the congressman's son and the federal agency regional director, and remanded to the district court for resentencing. The Court reversed some convictions of the company president and remanded for retrial. The Court held that the evidence did not permit a rational jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that the congressman's son knew that his father had received shares of stock as a bribe or gratuity. The Court held that the predicate acts of accepting a bribe and obstructing justice were insufficient to establish a pattern of racketeering activity by the federal agency regional director. The Court held that it was error for the trial court to have excluded evidence that supported the inference that the company president truthfully denied knowledge of the wrongdoing of others.

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