Tag Archives: Daniel Charles Richman

Rewarding Subtlety: McDonnell v. United States

by Daniel Richman and Jennifer Rodgers

As teachers, we sometimes push our students to clarify their legal arguments by telling them that “subtlety isn’t rewarded.”  As former prosecutors, we like to think that corrupt officials can’t avoid prosecution simply by avoiding B-movie exchanges that they will do “x” if they are given “y.”  This week’s decision in McDonnell v. United States (PDF: 158 KB), however, could be a lesson that subtlety may indeed be rewarded, and that gentility could protect a high official from federal corruption charges. Continue reading