The Supreme Court’s decision in Skilling v. United States fundamentally altered the landscape of 18 U.S.C. § 1346 honest services fraud prosecutions. Cases and clients at every stage of the criminal adjudication process are affected by the Skilling decision and the uncertain state of law. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice and other organizations are lobbying for a Skilling-fix. NACDL opposes such a fix and any attempts to restore a limitless honest service fraud statute. This page includes programs and press leading up to the Skilling decision.
Pre-Skilling Honest Services Fraud Programs and Press
We invite you to learn more by viewing “Legislating Chaos: Has Congress Made Playing Hooky a Federal Crime?”, an NACDL and Heritage Foundation jointly-sponsored program recorded on December 7, 2009, featuring Timothy P. O’Toole of Miller & Chevalier (Counsel for Defendant, United States v. Kevin Ring), John D. Cline of Jones Day (Amicus counsel for NACDL, Skilling v. United States), Thomas A. Hagemann of Gardere Wynne Sewell (Counsel for Defendant, United States v. Brown et. al.) and moderated by Shana–Tara Regon, Director of White Collar Crime Policy for NACDL.
We also invite you to view “Honest Services Fraud before the Supreme Court: What to Expect and What is at Stake,” an NACDL and Washington Legal Foundation jointly-sponsored program recorded on December 2, 2009, featuring Jonathan Marcus of Covington & Burling (Amicus counsel for NACDL, Conrad Black v. United States), Richard Craig Smith of Fulbright & Jaworski (former Acting Chief and Principal Deputy Chief for Litigation, DOJ Fraud Section), Brady Dugan of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (former Asst. U.S. Attorney, DOJ Antitrust Division), and moderated by the Honorable Richard Thornburgh of K&L Gates (former United States Attorney General).
These programs and other press-specific events, including press calls sponsored by the Federalist Society, served as valuable resources for the significant media attention to this important matter, coverage of which yielded hundreds of news stories in the news cycles during and following the arguments. For example, Bloomberg Business Week covered the Skilling case in a March 1, 2010, article, Skilling Seeks New Trial Without ‘Tar and Feathers,’ which cited to comments by NACDL Board Member Timothy P. O’Toole. O’Toole was also a panelist at the December 7, 2009, NACDL/Heritage co-sponsored event on Capitol Hill, and appeared on December 8, 2009, on American Public Media’s public radio program, “Marketplace” on the subject of the Honest Services Fraud cases argued before the Supreme Court that day (“SC could scale back anti-corruption law”). Barry Pollack, Co-Chair At Large of NACDL’s White Collar Crime Section, got the last word in Enron’s hometown coverage in the Houston Chronicle, Did Skilling Get a Fair Shake Here?
In a McClatchy story, appearing in papers from Seattle to Miami, NACDL’s White Collar Crime Policy Director Shana-Tara Regon pointedly explained that “The statute is 28 words, and no one knows what it means.” (“Piece of ex-Alaska Rep. Weyhrauch's case goes to Supreme Court”) And NACDL member Bill Mateja penned an Op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, “Supreme Court should void 'honest services'” in which he also discusses NACDL’s important coalition work: “To this end, Congress heard testimony last summer from strange bedfellows who have formed a coalition to bring ‘overcriminalization’ to lawmakers' attention, namely, the American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Cato Institute, Constitution Project, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Washington Legal Foundation.”