Timothy O'Toole's and Andrew Wise's Defense of Kevin Ring Discussed in the Blog of Legal Times

"Convicted Lobbyist Asks Full D.C. Circuit to Review Prosecution"
The Blog of Legal Times

In this article, the Blog of Legal Times highlights Timothy O'Toole's and Andrew Wise's recent request for a full D.C. Circuit review of the federal appeals court panel decision on behalf of former lobbyist Kevin Ring, arguing that the ruling conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and decisions in other appellate courts. O'Toole and Wise said the panel opinion incorrectly resolved two issues of "exceptional importance" - the role of campaign contributions in an honest services case and whether such a prosecution requires proof of a bribery agreement.

In the court papers, O'Toole and Wise said the federal bribery statute identifies an "offer" as a prohibited act. But the offer, the lawyers said, must be undertaken "corruptly."

"The Supreme Court has long construed this language to mean that bribery is a two-way crime that cannot occur in the absence of an agreement," O'Toole and Wise said. The D.C. Circuit should "resolve the resulting uncertainty about the fundamental question of whether bribery requires proof of a quid pro quo agreement," O'Toole wrote in the petition in the appeals court.

The D.C. Circuit panel decision also focused on a First Amendment issue regarding the role of campaign contributions in honest services fraud cases. According to Ring's lawyers, the panel should not have approved the use of "Mr. Ring's lawful, constitutionally protected political contributions to support improper inferences of criminal intent."

"The fact that Mr. Ring gave campaign contributions within the boundaries of the law does not, in any legitimate way, compel the conclusion that he intended to violate the law when he engaged in traditional, lobbying-related hospitality," O'Toole and Wise said.

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