United States v. Alston, No. 17-2405 (2d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions and sentence for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and a quantity of MDMA, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of that drug trafficking offense. The court held that the evidence at trial was sufficient to convict defendant of conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; the trial record offered ample evidence from which a jury could infer that defendant carried his service weapon not because he was obligated to do so, but for the purpose of protecting a coconspirator during drug transactions; and the coconspirator's testimony was sufficient for the jury to find the requisite nexus between defendant's possession of the shotgun and cocaine distribution activities. The court also held that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion for a new trial based on the coconspirator's allegedly false testimony and on newly discovered evidence regarding the coconspirator's post-trial misconduct in prison. Finally, the court held that defendant's sentence was not procedurally unreasonable.