In 2009, in a post called We Get It, we said lawyers are trained to quibble and criminal defense lawyers do it best. After all, their job is to create reasonable doubt. So it’s no surprise that when talking about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, they say it’s complicated, technically challenging and obscure, poorly drafted and badly organized. But don’t believe it. There’s no evidence in the record that judges or juries have any trouble understanding the FCPA. Just the opposite.
Case in point: U.S. v. Gerald and Patricia Green. Judge George Wu’s final jury instructions show just how simple the FCPA’s antibribery provisions really are. His words are neat, clear, and concise. All that’s missing is the ambiguity lawyers like to talk about. . . .
Seeing Judge Wu’s complete FCPA jury instructions should help dispel the idea that the law is shrouded in mystery. It’s not. That’s one reason why there hasn’t been an acquittal in an FCPA trial since 1991. Juries get it. Which means anyone who’s completed a typical compliance training program has no excuse for not understanding the FCPA.
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Has our view of the FCPA changed since we wrote those words?
Not at all.
We still get it.