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UNITED STATES v. JACKSON

December 11, 1997

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
AUTUMN JACKSON, JOSE MEDINA, a/k/a "Yosi Medina," and BORIS SABAS, a/k/a "Boris Shmulevich," Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JONES

 Barbara S. Jones, United States District Judge:

 Pending is a motion by defendant Autumn Jackson, in which co-defendant Yosi Medina joins, to dismiss the Superseding Indictment pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(2). Specifically, Jackson argues that 18 U.S.C. § 875(d) ("§ 875(d)") and § 155.05.2(e)(v) of the New York Penal Law ("§ 155.05") are unconstitutionally overbroad and vague on their face and as applied in this case. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the motion.

 BACKGROUND

 On February 27, 1997, the Grand Jury returned a superseding indictment charging Jackson, Medina, and co-defendant Boris Sabas, a/k/a "Boris Shmulevich," in three counts.

 Count One charged that from late 1996 until January 18, 1997, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, the defendants and others conspired to (1) transmit in interstate commerce communications threatening to injure the reputation of the actor Bill Cosby with the intent to extort money from him, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(d), and (2) travel in and use interstate commerce facilities with the intent to carry on extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(d) and § 155.05 of the New York Penal Law, in violation of the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952(a)(3).

 Count Two charged that, from late 1996 to January 18, 1997, the defendants transmitted in interstate commerce communications containing threats to injure the reputation of Bill Cosby with the intent to extort money from him, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(d).

 Count Three charged that the defendants violated the Travel Act by using facilities and traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to carry on extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(d) and Section 155.05 of the New York Penal Law.

 During a thirteen day trial that began July 7, 1997 and concluded July 25, 1997, the Government introduced evidence in the form of testimony, tape-recorded conversations, and documents. This proof established that from late 1996 to January 18, 1997, the defendants engaged in a campaign to threaten to publicize in tabloid newspapers that Jackson was Cosby's daughter out-of-wedlock and that he was mistreating her if Cosby did not pay Jackson millions of dollars. The Government established that the defendants conveyed this threat to Cosby through his attorneys, his television network CBS, and his sponsors, including Eastman Kodak Company. The campaign culminated with Jackson's January 16, 1997 demand to Cosby's attorney that if Cosby did not pay her $ 40 million, she would take her damaging story to The Globe. This threat was accompanied by an unsigned copy of a contract between Jackson, Medina and The Globe for the sale of Jackson's story about Cosby.

 On July 25, 1997, the jury found Jackson and Medina guilty of all three counts of the Superseding Indictment and found Sabas guilty of Counts One and Three.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Overbreadth

 Jackson asserts both a facial and an as applied overbreadth challenge to §§ 875(d) and 155.05.

 A. Facial Overbreadth

 As an initial matter, only a statute that is substantially overbroad may be invalidated on its face. Accordingly, in addressing a facial overbreadth challenge, a court's first task is to ascertain whether the enactment reaches a substantial amount of constitutionally protected conduct. City of Houston, Texas v. Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 458, 96 L. Ed. 2d 398, 107 S. Ct. 2502 (1987); Hoffman Estates v. Flipside, Hoffman Estates, Inc., 455 U.S. 489, 494, 71 L. Ed. 2d 362, 102 S. Ct. 1186 (1982). An act's overbreadth "must not only be real, but substantial as well, judged in relation to the statute's plainly legitimate sweep." Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601, 615, 37 L. Ed. 2d 830, 93 S. Ct. 2908 (1973). The overbreadth doctrine is "strong ...


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