United States v. Hornsby, No. 08-5267

Decided Jan. 25, 2012

Andre J. Hornsby was convicted of several counts of honest-services fraud, tampering with evidence, and obstruction of justice. Hornsby consummated two public contracts for Prince George’s County School Board for school supplies and school-related services. One of the contracts was made through his then-girlfriend, who subsequently gave Hornsby half of the commission she received from the sales. The Baltimore Sun published an article questioning the contract. Hornsby instructed the chief information officer for Prince George’s County Schools to destroy any back-up tapes of his e-mails. One e-mail specialist saved certain tapes and turned them over to the FBI after government agents executed a search warrant at the school system. Hornsby instructed an employee of his private consulting business to conceal evidence during the investigation. Hornsby, himself and through his daughter, also contacted his then-girlfriend and instructed her not to cooperate with the investigation. However, she did cooperate, and Hornsby was indicted and subsequently convicted for honest-services fraud, witness and evidence tampering, and obstruction of justice. Hornsby appealed. The Fourth Circuit reversed Hornsby’s conviction of honest-services fraud because the jury instruction, superseding indictment, and the Government’s case-in-chief put forth a conflict-of-interest theory of guilt for honest-services fraud that was disapproved by the Supreme Court in Skilling v. United States. The court affirmed the convictions of evidence and witness tampering and obstruction of justice, and remanded the case for re-sentencing of those convictions.

Full Opinion

-Sara I. Salehi

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