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United States v. Garcia

907 F.2d 380 (2d Cir. 1990)

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United States v. Garcia

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

907 F.2d 380 (2d Cir. 1990)

Facts

Robert Garcia (defendant) was a congressman. He and his wife, Jane Garcia (defendant) were found guilty of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion. The government (plaintiff) offered two theories for which to convict the Garcias for extortion. The two theories were extortion by wrongful use of fear and extortion under color of official right. The government alleged that the Garcias extorted Wedtech Corporation, a government contractor, through one of its officers, Mario Moreno, at a dinner. The Garcias sought arrangements with Wedtech to provide money to Jane or through an intermediary in exchange for help securing government contacts. No threats of harm to Wedtech or Moreno’s economic interests were made, only offers of beneficial activity. Moreno’s testimony gave no indication that Wedtech feared the Garcias would use their power to Wedtech’s detriment. The government also alleged that Robert’s request for a $20,000 loan was extortion. However, Moreno testified that he believed if Wedtech did not agree to provide the loan, Robert would merely cease helping Wedtech with securing government contracts. After the government closed its case-in-chief, the Garcias moved to dismiss the first theory of fear of economic loss as a potential basis for conviction. The district court denied the motion. The jury found the Garcias guilty of extortion and conspiracy. However, because no special interrogatories were requested, the basis on which the jury verdict rested was unknown. The Garcias motion for a new trial was denied. The Garcias appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Pratt, J.)

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