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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Supreme Court reins in 'honest services' prosecutions

The "honest services" law is a popular tool for prosecutors investigating corporate fraud, but a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling says the law is being used too broadly. "Honest services," basically, requires elected officials and business executives to act in their constituents' best interest. The feds have used it to prosecute people like Jeff Skilling in the Enron scandal. A lot of opponents, though, have argued the law is too broad and too vague.

The Supremes' ruling doesn't get Skilling off the hook, but it does give him a stronger position as he appeals his 24-year sentence. The Times says it could even help former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in his trial.

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