A federal appeals court told U.S. prosecutors to respond to a request by Frederic Bourke, a Connecticut businessman who was found guilty of bribery, that the judges reconsider a ruling upholding his conviction.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan in December upheld Bourke’s 2009 conviction, saying there was enough evidence to find that he knew of the bribery scheme or took steps to avoid learning about it. In January, defense lawyer Michael Tigar asked the full appeals court to hear the case again. The appeals court on March 1 ordered prosecutors to respond to the request.
The order is an encouraging sign for Bourke. Under court rules, appellate judges ordinarily won’t agree to rehear a case without soliciting a response from the winning party. Tigar declined to comment on the order, as did Carly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York.
Bourke, who remains free on bail, was convicted by a Manhattan jury of conspiring to violate the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by joining a scheme to bribe government leaders in Azerbaijan as part of an oil deal. Bourke, 65, was sentenced to a year in prison.
The Bourke case is U.S. v. Bourke, 05-cr-00518, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). The appeal is U.S. v. Kozeny, 09-4704, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Manhattan).
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