Is the 'Klein' Conspiracy Doctrine Doomed?

November 15, 2023  |  New York Law Journal

In 1957, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided United States v. Klein, which interpreted the general federal conspiracy statute as criminalizing any interference with the operations of the federal government through deceptive conduct.  Since then, prosecutors have used the so-called “Klein conspiracy doctrine” to prosecute a wide array of private activity affecting government functions, and while the Second Circuit expressed doubts regarding Klein a decade ago, it concluded that Supreme Court precedents mandated upholding the doctrine.  In his recent article for the New York Law Journal, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Jeremy H. Temkin discusses the Supreme Court’s recent rejection of similarly broad readings of the wire and honest-services fraud statutes in a series of cases, which suggest that it is not a matter of if, but when, the Klein doctrine falls.

Is the 'Klein' Conspiracy Doctrine Doomed? (pdf | 136.36 KB)