5th Circ. Stance On Bribery Law Reinforces Circuit Split

August 29, 2022
Law 360

Types : In the News

By embracing a stricter interpretation of a federal bribery law and hardening a circuit court split, the Fifth Circuit’s remand of a Texas real estate developer’s conviction furthers a trend of federal judges narrowing the application of anti-corruption statutes and makes the U.S. Supreme Court more likely to weigh in on the issue again.

A three-judge panel on Tuesday overturned the conviction and eight-year sentence of Ruel Hamilton, a politically connected affordable housing developer in Dallas who was found guilty by a Texas federal court jury in June 2021 of illegally funneling funds to a pair of city council members. The appellate panel reached its decision after concluding the jury was improperly instructed to determine whether Hamilton had paid either bribes or gratuities, with both considered corrupt.

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