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United States of America v. Carl A. Larson

September 18, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Hugh B. Scott


Currently before this Court are (a) the joint defense motion filed by defendant Mark Kirsch to continue motions (and appeals therefrom) filed under the earlier pleadings in this case (Docket No. 302, hereinafter the "Kirsch motion"), and (b) the joint*fn1 defense motion filed by defendant Gerald Bove seeking particular discovery and disclosure (Docket No. 301, hereinafter the "Bove motion"; see also Docket No. 304 (joinder motion of defendant Michael Caggiano*fn2 ))*fn3 . These motions were argued on September 11, 2012 (text minute entry, Sept. 11, 2012) and this Court granted the Kirsch motion. In particular, the defendants in the Bove motion (Docket No. 301) moved for production of Grand Jury records as well as Grand Jury minutes from the Grand Jury impaneled November 4, 2011, which indicted defendants on the Second Superseding Indictment (Docket No. 280). The Government responded (Docket No. 305) and defendants filed a joint Reply (Docket No. 314). These motions were argued on September 11, 2012, and submitted.


This is a racketeering conspiracy, Hobbs Act conspiracy, racketeering forfeiture, and aiding and abetting prosecution involving International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 17, AFL-CIO (hereinafter " Local No. 17") (Docket No. 4, Superseding Indict.). In the Superseding Indictment, the Government alleges that Local No. 17 functioned as a criminal enterprise from about January 1997 to December 2007 (id. ¶ 1). This Superseding Indictment was issued by the Grand Jury impaneled on May 4, 2007 (id.).

Defendants are officers or members of Local No. 17. The Superseding Indictment alleged that defendants collectively were willing to engage in acts of violence and threats of violence against persons and property on non-union construction sites, with the alleged objective of extortion from contractors to obtain contracts from those contractors. The Superseding Indictment alleged RICO violation, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d), with racketeering acts involving ten different non-union projects, a Hobbs Act conspiracy to extort from those contractors, and attempted Hobbs Act extortion activities against these contractors (see generally Docket No. 4, Superseding Indict.; Docket No. 229, Order of Aug. 10, 2011, at 2-4).

Defendants then filed omnibus motions (Docket Nos. 61, 67, 66, 65, 80, 70, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 84, and 81) which this Court granted in part and denied in part (Docket Nos. 90 (Order addressing motions for Bills of Particulars), 91 (Order addressing discovery relief sought)). Defendants jointly moved to dismiss the Superseding Indictment on the grounds that their activities were permissible under an exception to the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), found by the United States Supreme Court in Enmons, United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396 (1973) (Docket Nos. 153, 155, 158). This Court issued a Report & Recommendation (Docket No. 184) recommending granting that motion, but Chief Judge Skretny set aside that Report and denied the motion to dismiss the Indictment (Docket No. 229). Bove filed a Notice of Appeal from that ruling (Docket No. 274).

Second Superseding Indictment

On January 10, 2012, the Government filed a Second Superseding Indictment, issued by the Grand Jury impaneled on November 4, 2011 (Docket No. 280). The counts previously alleged essentially remain unchanged, but defendants Minter and Franz were not charged in the Second Superseding Indictment. The Second Superseding Indictment expressly alleges that the defendants conspired to agree to violate the Hobbs Act (id. at 29). In light of this amendment, this Court denied defendant's Eddy's motion to dismiss Count 2 of the Superseding Indictment as being moot, as well as denying his severance motion (Docket No. 283).

The Second Superseding Indictment also alleges that Kirsch participated in the attempted Hobbs Act extortion committed against STS Construction of Western New York (Docket No. 280, 2d Superseding Indict. Count 3, at 53), while Count 5 alleges that Eddy and Dewald also participated in the attempted Hobbs Act extortion against Waste Management and Marcy Excavation Company at the Chaffee landfill (id., Count 5, at 56). Count 8 also alleges that Kirsch participated in the attempted Hobbs Act activity against Wadsworth Golf Construction company (id., Count 8, at 60).

Kirsch Motion

In light of the filing of the Superseding Indictment, and its effect of wiping out prior proceedings, Kirsch and other defendants orally moved to renew the earlier motions filed under the Superseding Indictment (Docket No. 302, Kirsch Atty. Affirm. ¶ 12) and the parties attempted to stipulate to this (id. ¶¶ 12-16). That motion was granted during oral argument on September 11, 2012.

Bove Motion

With the Second Superseding Indictment being rendered by a different Grand Jury, and the "relatively minor" changes alleged in the newer pleading, Bove seeks all records related to the November 2011 Grand Jury (including a log or record of dates and time when this case was presented to them, the witnesses who testified before them and time periods of their testimony, exhibits shown to the Grand Jury) (Docket No. 301, Bove Atty. Affirm. ¶¶ 9, 3). He also seeks a statement whether summarized testimony was used; if transcripts were provided of prior testimony, the number of copies furnished and the time allotted for Grand Jury review of the transcripts; and the instructions given to the Grand Jury, including instructions on the extent of use of summarized testimony, the right of the Grand Jury to hear direct evidence, the rights of unions and union members under the National Labor Relations Act and the First Amendment and the labor exception from the Hobbs Act under Enmons, and specifics on the elements of a RICO charge (id. ¶¶ 4-6). Bove also seeks delivery of the entire Grand Jury transcript (id. ¶ 7) or portions of it or the entire transcript to be provided to the Court for in camera inspection to determine what (if any) of the transcript could be produced (id. ¶ 8). Bove seeks these items to see if the November 2011 Grand Jury was allowed to proceed as an independent investigative body as required by the Fifth Amendment or if the Government used it as a "rubber stamp" to charge these defendants (id. ¶¶ 9-13).

The Government responds that the general standard for Grand Jury secrecy apply here and that defendants fail to articulate particularized need to justify disclosure (Docket No. 305, Gov't Response at 3-5). The Government notes that Bove's request for the Grand Jury minutes does not limit itself to the minutes from the November 2011 Grand Jury but also could include the minutes ...

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