Preview of United States Supreme Court Cases
The defendants, two former New Jersey officials convicted in “Bridgegate,” challenge the scope of federal prosecutorial power under the generic wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1343. They argue that the government sidestepped the Court’s explicit prohibition on inquiries into an official’s real reasons for an official act, unless bribery or kickbacks are involved. The defendants urge the Court to foreclose the government from circumventing limitations on the honest-services fraud doctrine under McNally v. United States, 483 U.S. 350 (1987), and Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. 358 (2010). The government argues that the defendants’ actions met all statutory elements without the jury having to assess their underlying political motives.
Nora V. Demleitner, Can the Federal Government Use the Generic Wire Fraud Statute to Prosecute Public Officials for Corrupt Activities That Are Conducted for Political Rather than Private Gain?, Preview U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas., Jan. 13, 2020, at 12.