White-Collar Crime

Gov't Asks Fed'l Court to Vacate Guilty Plea of Ga. Judge to Honest Services Fraud Conspiracy

A longtime Georgia judge avoided prison in 2009 by taking a plea in a federal corruption case.

Now it appears that he likely will also avoid a conviction in the case: Federal prosecutors are joining the defense in seeking to vacate the guilty plea of Brooks E. Blitch III to a single count of honest services fraud conspiracy, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 that limited the scope of the crime, reports the Associated Press.

The nation’s top court said that a defendant must benefit financially, by receiving a bribe or a kickback, to be convicted of the kind of crime with which Blitch was charged. And both sides agree that the former Clinch County Superior Court judge, 76, didn’t.

Other counts in the indictment against Blitch were dismissed after he agreed to the plea bargain, leaving only the honest services fraud conspiracy charge to which he pled guilty.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Former Georgia Judge Disbarred After Guilty Plea to Corruption Charge”

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