U.S. v. Kanchanalak, Criminal No. 98-0241(PLF).

CourtUnited States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
Citation31 F.Supp.2d 13
Docket NumberCriminal No. 98-0241(PLF).
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, v. Pornpimol KANCHANALAK and Duangnet Kronenberg, Defendants.
Decision Date31 December 1998
31 F.Supp.2d 13
Pornpimol KANCHANALAK and Duangnet Kronenberg, Defendants.
Criminal No. 98-0241(PLF).
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
December 31, 1998.

Page 14

Jonathan Biran, Campaign Finance Task Force, Criminal Division, Washington, DC, for U.S.

Reid Weingarten, Steptoe & Johnson, Washington, DC, James Hamilton, Swidler & Berlin, Washington, DC, for Defendants.


PAUL L. FRIEDMAN, District Judge.

This case is before the Court on defendants' Motion No. 1, to dismiss Counts 2-14 of the superseding indictment for failure to state an offense. Upon consideration of defendants' motion, the opposition of the government and defendants' reply, the Court will dismiss Counts 2-4 and 7-14. With respect to Counts 5 and 6, supplemental briefs would be helpful in determining whether the reasoning in United States v. Hsia, 24 F.Supp.2d 33 (D.D.C.1998), and United States v. Trie, 23 F.Supp.2d. 55 (D.D.C.1998), compels dismissal of these counts.

Counts 2-14 charge Ms. Kanchanalak and Ms. Kronenberg with "knowingly and willfully caus[ing] the submission of material false statements to the FEC, in that defendants caused the responsible officials of ... political committees to file reports with the FEC that listed ... individuals as having provided funds to such political committees ... when, as defendants then and there well knew, the named individuals were not the actual sources of those funds," in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2(b). See Superseding Indictment at 24. The bulk of the government's extensive opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss is devoted to arguing that the Court should reconsider its decisions in Hsia and Trie. The Court declines that invitation.

The government cites the recent decision of Judge Audrey Collins in United States v. Nichols, Criminal No. 98-642, Opinion of December 7, 1998 (C.D.Cal.), as support for its argument that the Court should revisit its analysis and conclusions.1 Contrary to the government's argument, the fact that Judge Collins dismissed the false statements counts in the case before her on facts similar to those presented in Hsia and Trie provides further support for the decisions of this Court. While Judge Collins dismissed the false statements counts on rule of lenity grounds, she specifically noted that the "Court's invocation of the rule of lenity mirrors the analysis in Hsia." United States v. Nichols, Criminal No. 98-642, Opinion of December 7, 1998 at 10 n. 6 (C.D.Cal.).

Counts 2-4 and 7-14 of the Superseding Indictment in this case are virtually indistinguishable from the allegations at issue in Hsia and Trie. For the reasons stated at great length in Hsia, and in abbreviated fashion in Trie, the Court will dismiss those counts. See United States v. Hsia, 24 F.Supp.2d at 53-63; United States v. Trie, 23 F.Supp.2d at 62-63.

The same reasoning may not compel dismissal of Counts 5 and 6. The false statements in Hsia and Trie were dismissed because it was nearly impossible to find conduct alleged in the indictment that could constitute any of the elements of a Section 1001 and 2(b) violation. In view of the First Amendment sensitivity of the area in which the indictments operate, it was "[t]he remoteness of [defendants' positions] in relation to the FEC, the case law with respect to `literal truth,' the fact that a check is not a statement, and the willful intent hurdle [which] together make it impossible to conclude that Sections 1001 and 2(b) can be applied consistently with the Constitution to the conduct alleged here." United States v. Hsia, 24 F.Supp. 2d at 63.

The Court recognized, however, that there are instances in which Section 1001 alone or Section 1001 and 2(b) in combination can constitutionally be applied to alleged false statements made in connection with reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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See United States v. Hopkins, 916 F.2d 207, 214-15 (5th Cir.1990); United States v. Oakar, ...

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1 cases
  • USA. v. Pornpimol Kanchanalak, 99-3019
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • 8 Octubre 1999
    ...agreeing with the defendants, dismissed Counts Two through Four and Seven through Fourteen. See United States v. Kanchanalak, 31 F. Supp. 2d 13, 14 (D.D.C. 1999) ("Kanchanalak I"). The district court's decision was based on its own prior reasoning in United States v. Hsia, 24 F. Supp. 2d at......

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