Elements at common law (very different from modern extortion):
- 1. Corrupt
- 2. Collection of unlawful fee
- 3. By officer
- 4. Under color of office
Elements (modern): property taken by intimidation rather than threat of physical harm
State v. Harrington
- 1. Maliciously
- 2. Threaten to accuse/injure
- 3. With intent to extort pecuniarily or compel victim to act against will
United States v. Jackson
- Scheme to catch husband in infidelity, worked, lawyer asked for $175,000 ($500,000 available) to avoid alimony, etc.
- Lawyer prosecuted for extortion.
- Extortion elements:
- 1. Use of a threat (qualifying threat)
- 2. Attempt to obtain/obtain
- 3. Property of another or some action on part of another
- How to avoid extortion?
McCormick v. United States
- Autumn (convicted of extortion), claims to be daughter of Bill Cosby (who is not married).
- Cosby had been providing for her with money for education.
- She wanted more money ($40 mil!)—or would see story to tabloids.
- Court suggests "claim of right" defense
- Legitimate compensation is not a wrongful threat. (CA explicitly rejected this idea—see grocery store case.)
- Only real way to avoid it is if a claim of right defense actually exists, otherwise it’s a very, very fuzzy line.
- Extortion under common law: color of official right, rather like bribery…
- 1. Money or property
- 2. Obtaining
- 3. Under color of office
- Court comes around to the idea that there must (Diamon, p. 561, middle) be quid pro quo.
- Money must be the reason for changing position.
- Otherwise to close to normal campaign contributions.
- Not recording it as a contribution, there’s an implication of quid pro quo.