United States v. Larry Inman, No. 21-1505 (6th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Inman was part of the majority of the Michigan House of Representatives who, along with a majority of the Senate, voted to repeal the prevailing-wage law. Inman was charged with soliciting bribes for his prevailing-wage vote: attempted extortion under color of official right, 18 U.S.C. 1951; soliciting a bribe, 18 U.S.C. 666(a)(1)(B); and making a false statement to the FBI, 18 U.S.C. 1001(a)(2) (Count III). A jury acquitted Inman on Count III but hung on Counts I and II. The district court dismissed those counts, concluding that the acquittal precluded a retrial on the other counts.
The Sixth Circuit reversed. The acquittal on the false-statement charge did not decide any fact that necessarily precludes a verdict against Inman on the extortion and bribery-solicitation charges, so issue preclusion does not apply. To show the underlying corrupt agreement, the prosecution did not need to produce evidence that Inman lied to the FBI. It needed to produce evidence that Inman extorted or attempted to solicit an agreement where Inman would vote on the prevailing-wage law in exchange for payment. At retrial, a jury must decide whether Inman actually extorted or attempted to solicit such an agreement—a question not answered by the acquittal on Count III.