Fifth Circuit asks in Paul Minor case: Tell us how this is all connected with federal money?

The Fifth Circuit panel considering Paul Minor’s appeal has asked, in a letter from the clerk (to be linked at YallPolitics soon), for supplemental briefing in Paul Minor’s case. This happens, but not that often.

This is very big news, because it telegraphs that the court is very close to reversing these convictions. The topic is very interesting, particularly so for ongoing federal bribery prosecutions.

The letter asking for supplemental briefs begins by noting that the statute involved in counts 11, 12, 13, and 14 of the indictment alleges violations of 18 U.S.C. §666, which is known to its friends as the Federal Program Bribery statute.

The focus here is ordinarily on the “bribery” part– prosecutors sort of skate over that “Federal Program” part, asserting that federal money is everywhere. This was an issue in Scruggs I, and will presumably be in play in the DeLaughter prosecution, as you’ll see as I work through the questions the court is asking.