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Bribery Conspiracy Case, and Civil Procedure and Immigration Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on May 12, 2010 2:18 PM

Lapaix v. US Atty. Gen., No. 09-12488, involved a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the immigration judge's ("IJ") order denying petitioner's applications for asylum and withholding of removal.  The court of appeals denied the petition, on the grounds that 1) petitioner was given the opportunity to testify or offer any evidence she or her counsel might have thought could have persuaded the IJ; 2) petitioner offered no explanation as to how her prior offense of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon was not a particularly serious crime; and 3) petitioner was not entitled to relief under the Convention Against Torture because she made no allegation of persecution at the hands of the government, nor any allegation of government acquiescence to outside forces.

In US v. McNair, No. 07-11476, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part defendants' convictions and sentences for conspiracy to commit bribery, substantive offenses of bribery, honest services mail fraud, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice, holding that 1) the indictment itself was not defective for failure to allege a specific quid pro quo; 2) there was no requirement in 18 U.S.C. section 666(a)(1)(B) or (a)(2) that the government allege or prove an intent that a specific payment was solicited, received, or given in exchange for a specific official act, termed a quid pro quo; 3) direct evidence of an agreement to pay a bribe was unnecessary to prove conspiracy, and the existence of the agreement and a defendant's participation in the conspiracy could be proven entirely from circumstantial evidence; and 4) Fed. R. Evid. 404(b) did not exclude evidence that was "inextricably intertwined" with evidence of the charged offense.  However, the court reversed one defendant's conviction as to a bribery conspiracy count, on the ground that defendant's receipt of the benefit of certain March and June 2000 disbursements could not be considered "overt acts" knowingly committed by him, and the bribery conspiracy in Count 75 was hence beyond the statute of limitations.

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