That is the question I have upon learning that the Department of Justice recently filed this notice of appeal to the Second Circuit of Judge Janet Bond Arterton’s February 26th grant of Lawrence Hoskins’s motion for acquittal on the seven FCPA charges he was convicted of by the jury. (See here for the prior post. As noted in the post, Judge Arterton denied Hoskin’s motion for acquittal on the five money laundering charges he was convicted of by the jury).
As highlighted in this post, thereafter Judge Arterton significantly rejected the DOJ’s 7-9 year sentencing recommendation on the money laundering charges and sentenced Hoskins to approximately one year in federal prison.
As noted in the prior post, Judge Arterton’s decision on the FCPA charges was highly factual and she concluded, as to the disputed agency issue, in pertinent part as follows: “the Court sees no evidence upon which a rational jury could conclude that Mr. Hoskins agreed or understood that [Alstom Power] would control his actions on the Tarahan Project, as would be required to create an agency relationship. Nor does the Court see any evidence upon which a rational jury could conclude that [Alstom Power] actually had the authority or ability to control Mr. Hoskins’s actions.”
Judge Arterton’s February 26th decision was certainly not the only setback for the DOJ in the (way too long) history of the case. (Hoskins was charged in 2013 for conduct that allegedly occurred between 2002 and 2004).
As highlighted in this prior post, in 2015 Judge Arterton significantly trimmed the DOJ’s case against Hoskins and as highlighted in this prior post in 2018 the Second Circuit rejected the DOJ’s expansive jurisdictional theory of prosecution.
Even if the Second Circuit would overturn Judge Arterton’s acquittal (a process that would likely take a few years given that the last Second Circuit appeal in Hoskins matter took approximately two years), Judge Arterton already ruled on February 26th that Hoskins’s motion for a new trial was conditionally granted if her judgment of acquittal was later vacated or reversed on appeal.
In short, and given the above context, why is the DOJ appealing to the Second Circuit?
In the minds of many, after several setbacks, the DOJ unnecessary clinged to its failed Africa Sting prosecutions before finally letting go.
Perhaps it should do the same thing in the Hoskins matter.