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Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in United States v. Ring, No. 11-3100 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 25, 2013), upheld a conviction for bribery under the public sector honest-services fraud statute, expanding the definitions of "corrupt payments" and "official action," and thus making it easier for federal prosecutors to secure convictions under this statute. The court, in an opinion by Judge David Tatel, held: (1) implicit quid pro quo is sufficient for a bribery conviction, and no actual agreement by the public official is necessary; (2) there is "official action" when a lawyer in the Justice Department emails a secretary with the Immigration and Naturalization Service requesting expedited review of a visa application; and (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion under the First Amendment or Federal Rule of Evidence 403 in allowing the jury to draw an adverse inference from a defendant’s history of lawful campaign contributions.

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