Supreme Court Limits 'Honest Services' Law Frequently Used in Fraud Cases

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Supreme Court on Thursday narrowed the scope of a law that has put people like former Enron Chief Jeffrey Skilling behind bars. The law, known as the "honest-services law," makes it illegal to "deprive another of the intangible right of honest services."  In a unanimous ruling, the justices said the law’s language was too broad. The decision sends Skilling's case back to the lower courts and calls into question other recent convictions under the same law, including the charges against Conrad M. Black, the newspaper executive convicted of defrauding his media company, Hollinger International, as well as Joseph Bruno, one of the most prominent politicians in New York.

We talk with Robert Plotkin,  a partner at the law firm McGuireWoods, and the head of their SEC Enforcement Defense Group. Plotkin explains that even though the honest services law is commonly used in cases involving public officials or financial fraud, the Supreme Court was right to narrow the law's definition.

Guests:

Sam Plotkin

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

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