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Valdes v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
475 F.3d 1319 (2007)


William Blake was a paid Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant who was introduced to Nelson Valdes (defendant), a District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department detective. Blake was introduced to Valdes as a judge. Valdes gave Blake his business card and cell phone number and told Blake to call him if Blake ever needed a favor. The FBI instructed Blake to see if Valdes would give Blake police information. After the FBI entered five fake names, with fake addresses and license plate numbers, into a law-enforcement database, Blake asked Valdes if he would look up information on a few individuals who purportedly owed Blake money. Valdes agreed, and Blake gave Valdes $50. Valdes searched for the fictitious individual in the police database and provided the information to Blake over the phone. When Blake asked what he owed Valdes, Valdes replied “just a thank you.” Blake soon contacted Valdes again to request another search but proposed meeting in person to exchange the information. Unbeknownst to Valdes, Blake and the FBI wanted the meeting to be in person so that Blake could offer him money for the information. Over the next week, Blake and Valdes met twice. Blake gave Valdes $200 at each meeting, and Valdes completed four more searches in the police database for Blake. Valdes was indicted on three counts of bribery under 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2)(A) and (C). He was convicted of three counts of the lesser included offense of accepting an illegal gratuity under 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(1)(B). Valdes appealed, alleging that the evidence was insufficient to show that his database searches or giving the information to Blake amounted to an official act as required by the statute.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

Concurrence (Kavanaugh, J.)

Dissent (Garland, J.)

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