June 27, 2024

Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Daniel Levin Discusses the Supreme Court Decision to Limit the Reach of Federal Bribery Law in Law360 Article

Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Daniel Levin spoke to Law360 about how a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision narrows the scope of a federal bribery law, and how it could affect future public corruption cases in an article titled, “Supreme Court Bribery Ruling Limits Government’s ‘Arsenal.’”

On June 26, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 opinion that Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 666 makes it illegal to accept bribes in exchange for an act, but not gifts or gratuities in appreciation for an act that has already been completed. The case, Snyder v. U.S., involved a former mayor who was convicted of accepting illegal gratuities, in violation of Section 666, after he received a $13,000 gift from a truck company that he helped land several city contracts. In overturning his conviction, the justices drew a distinction between “bribery,” which involves evidence of a corrupt agreement, and a “gratuity” that can be a present or recognition for a previous favorable act.

Mr. Levin, a seasoned litigator and former government prosecutor, told Law360 that many public corruption cases take the form of gratuity-type corruption, where payments are made after the fact. He said that the decision “reduces the arsenal” that federal prosecutors have to pursue a “much broader range of conduct for state and local corruption.”

“It remains to be seen what the ultimate impact will be in terms of prosecutions,” Mr. Levin added. “But it probably means fewer prosecutions of state and local officials at the federal level and probably pushes some of those cases to the state level.”

Mr. Levin focuses his practice on complex litigation, white collar defense and investigations. A former deputy chief of criminal appeals in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, clients rely on Mr. Levin to find creative solutions to their thorniest issues involving high profile government investigations, criminal and environmental litigation and complex, multidistrict litigation. During Mr. Levin’s tenure in government, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, where he tried cases involving tax fraud, treasury check fraud and firearm importation and most recently was deputy chief of criminal appeals.

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