Supreme Court: Derailing Traffic for Political Revenge Might Be Unpalatable, But Does Not Violate Federal Fraud StatutesOn May 21, 2020 by Schnader in Criminal Defense
Danielle Bruno McDermott and Laurel Gift published a client alert, “Supreme Court: Derailing Traffic for Political Revenge Might Be Unpalatable, But Does Not Violate Federal Fraud Statutes.”
On May 7, 2020, the United States Supreme Court overturned two criminal convictions connected to the Bridgegate case, concluding that the defendants’ conduct did not violate the federal fraud statutes at issue. Kelly v. United States, No. 18-1059, 2020 WL 2200833, slip op. (U.S. Sup. Ct. May 7, 2020). Despite overwhelming evidence that the defendants orchestrated a scheme to derail traffic from the Borough of Fort Lee, New Jersey to exert political revenge on Fort Lee’s Mayor, the Court found the federal statutes do not criminalize such conduct.
The Court’s decision sends a clear message to prosecutors that they are to strictly construe criminal statutes and only seek conviction for conduct specifically contemplated by the legislature.