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A bribery or extortion conviction requires a quid pro quo

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Photo from website of U.S. District Court (W.D. Mi.).

A bribery or extortion conviction requires a quid pro quo. U.S. v. Dean, ___ F.3d ___ (D.C. Cir., Jan. 7, 2011). The necessary quid pro quo having been absent, the D.C. Circuit today reversed the conviction of a former District of Columbia employee who required cash payment of permit payment late fees and pocketed the cash, saying:

The evidence was that Dean received money from licensees under false pretenses and took money that belonged to her employer. We do not know why the United States Attorneys’ Office did not choose to seek an indictment for fraud or embezzlement under Title 22, Chapter 32 of the District of Columbia Code. It would appear that the evidence might easily have supported such charges. However, for whatever reason, the prosecutor sought and obtained an indictment for an offense not supported by the evidence. This was true with respect to all of the charges rightly dismissed by the trial court, as well as the two that made it through to us.

We conclude that there was insufficient evidence to convict Dean of either bribery or extortion as charged in the indictment because the evidence showed no quid pro quo necessary to convict on either charge. We echo the sentiments of the trial judge who opined that the government mis-charged in this case; Dean may well be guilty of embezzlement or fraud, but not extortion or bribery as charged. The judgment of conviction is reversed.