Klein Conspiracies In The Wake Of US V. Coplan

Law360, New York (March 4, 2013, 12:53 PM EST) -- Title 18, United States Code § 371 criminalizes “conspiracies to defraud the United States.” For decades, this section has been understood to prohibit so-called Klein conspiracies to “impair or impede” the lawful functions of the federal government. However, in a recent decision, the Second Circuit cast serious doubt on the historical underpinnings of this interpretation. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has itself interpreted § 371 broadly in the past, the Second Circuit’s opinion in United States v. Coplan, 703 F.3d 46 (2d Cir. 2012), invites the...
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