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8.142A Hobbs Act—Extortion or Attempted Extortion by Threat of Economic Harm

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8.142A HOBBS ACT—EXTORTION OR ATTEMPTED EXTORTION BY THREAT OF ECONOMIC HARM (18 U.S.C. § 1951)

The defendant is charged in [Count _______ of] the indictment with [attempted] extortion by threat of economic harm in violation of Section 1951 of Title 18 of the United States Code. In order for the defendant to be found guilty of that charge, the government must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

First, the defendant [[induced] [intended to induce]] [name of victim] to part with property by threatened fear of economic harm;

Second, the defendant acted with the intent to obtain property that the defendant knew [he] [she] was not entitled to obtain;

Third, commerce from one state to another [was] [would have been] affected in some way[.] [; and]

[Fourth, the defendant did something that was a substantial step toward committing the crime.

Mere preparation is not a substantial step toward committing the crime. To constitute a substantial step, a defendant’s act or actions must demonstrate that the crime will take place unless interrupted by independent circumstances.]

Comment

See generally Comment to Instruction 8.142 (Hobbs Act—Extortion or Attempted Extortion by Force).

The requirement that the government prove that the defendant acted with the intent to obtain property that the defendant knew the defendant was not entitled to obtain does not conflict with a general instruction that the government is not required to prove that the defendant knew the defendant’s actions were unlawful. The knowledge required for extortion is distinguishable from knowledge that an act violates the Hobbs Act. United States v. Greer, 640 F.3d 1011, 1019-20 (9th Cir.2011).

The bracketed language stating a fourth element applies to attempt to engage in extortion by threat of economic harm. Jurors do not need to agree unanimously as to which particular act or actions constituted a substantial step toward the commission of a crime. United States v. Hofus, 598 F.3d 1171, 1176 (9th Cir.2010).

Approved 1/2012