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United States v. Brechner

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
99 F.3d 96 (1996)


Facts

Brechner (defendant) offered to plead guilty to four counts of income tax evasion and in exchange the government agreed not to prosecute his company or his family for their involvement. Seeking a downward departure on his sentence, Brechner offered to provide information about bribes he paid to a corrupt bank officer. Brechner also agreed to tell the prosecution about the sources of his unreported income. Brechner and the prosecutor entered into an agreement whereby Brechner agreed to provide complete and accurate information and the government agreed to move for a downward departure on Brechner’s behalf. However, at a debriefing, the prosecutor asked Brechner about his unreported income. Brechner initially lied and said he had received no kickbacks from the two sources to which the prosecutor referred. Brechner’s attorney requested a moment to speak with his client and upon returning from the short break Brechner admitted to receiving payments from the two sources. A few months later, the prosecution told Brechner that it was unwilling to move for a downward departure. The prosecution cited Brechner’s initial misrepresentations and explained that conviction would be difficult with Brechner as the only witness. At sentencing, the prosecution did not move for a downward departure. Brechner moved to compel the prosecution to request a downward departure and the district court granted the motion. The district court held that Brechner’s breach of the agreement was not material.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Leval, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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