Fraud Ruling Is Reshaping Federal Cases

Other cases hang in the balance. Lawyers for Mr. Skilling have asked a federal appeals court to release him from prison. Lawyers for Joseph L. Bruno, a Republican and former majority leader of the New York State Senate found guilty of fraud last year, are preparing an appeal of his verdict while the Justice Department decides how to proceed.

Last week, lawyers for David Zachary Scruggs asked a federal judge in Mississippi to vacate his conviction relating to a judicial bribery scheme involving him and his former law partner and father, the well-known trial lawyer Richard F. Scruggs. (The younger Mr. Scruggs served a 14-month prison term; his father is serving a seven-year sentence.)

A spokeswoman at the Justice Department declined to discuss the agency’s position on honest services prosecutions. But legal experts say the narrowed scope of the law will not prevent the government from prosecuting financial crimes. Federal prosecutors still have an array of tools to pursue corporate and political corruption, including wire fraud and mail fraud statutes as well as sections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

NYT
8/26/10