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Before Torruella, Circuit Judge, Souter, Associate Justice, *fn1 and Boudin, Circuit Judge.

In this, his second appeal, see United States v. Hersom, 588 F.3d 60 (1st Cir. 2009), Douglas Hersom assigns error to the district court’s denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to arson of a building owned by an organization receiving federal financial assistance, see 18 U.S.C. _ 844(f). After the prior appeal led to remand for resentencing, Hersom claimed that the statute was inapplicable, not because the owner (Greely Capital, LLC) was merely an indirect recipient of benefits, as argued when he was last in this court, but because all the redevelopment funds lent to Greely had been disbursed to it, so that it was no longer “receiving” the financial assistance when he committed the arson. The government opposed the motion, as it does here, on grounds of waiver, law of the case, and failure to qualify to withdraw the plea under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11, as well as on the merits of the statutory construction argument. While the district judge had some question about reaching the merits, he did so and rejected Hersom’s reading of the statute. We affirm.

There is no doubt that the trial judge would have had support for finding the issue waived, as distinct from forfeited, but the record is not unequivocal. When the case was first before the district court, defense counsel told someone in the court clerk’s office that Hersom had come to think that Greely’s receipt of the full amount of the federally funded loan before the fire occurred made the statute inapplicable, and at the resentencing hearing after the first appeal the district court asked counsel whether he intended to get into that issue. The lawyer explained that he had discussed the matter with his client after doing some research and said, “I think that the issue is resolved.” As for applying the law of the case doctrine, that prior decision of an issue not raised in an interim appeal is binding in subsequent proceedings, the district court was uncertain. While this court had held the statute applicable on the facts, the argument based on completed receipt of benefits had not been ruled upon expressly prior to the appeal and was not raised in the appeal itself.

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