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Extortion

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The US Supreme Court also issued one criminal law opinion today, though few will notice.  Sekhar v. United States involves the interpretation of the federal extortion law, the Hobbs Act.  If Don Corleone wants a government lawyer to issue a certain opinion and makes him an offer he can't refuse, is that extortion?  No.  Extortion under this law requires "the obtaining of property from another," and the opinion is either not something one can obtain (according to the majority) or not property at all (according to the concurrence).  Such threats can be and should be crimes, but the prosecution will have to be under another law.

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