Honest Services Fraud: What's Left?

Chicago Lawyers Chapter and Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group

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Last year, in its "Honest Services Cases" the Supreme Court purported to confine the statute making it a crime to defraud another of "the intangible right to honest services" to the "core offenses"  of bribery and kickbacks, discarding conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty as bases for prosecution.  Has the Court succeeded?  Is "bribery" in public corruption cases still too vague a concept to eliminate prosecutions that risk turning politics into a crime?  What are the federalism implications of such prosecutions?  Does the honest services statute have any remaining utility in the commercial context?  Does it have any utility at all, or do other criminal statutes prohibiting bribery, public program fraud, extortion, and kickbacks fulfill its goals?


  • Mr. John Elwood, Partner, Vinson & Elkins & former Assistant Solicitor General of the United States
  • Mr. Ronald Safer, Managing Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP, co-counsel in US v. Conrad Black et al.
  • Mr. Brian Murray, Partner, Jones Day, petitioner's counsel in Weyhrauch v. United States
  • Moderator:  Mr. Gil Soffer, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman & former Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States