United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
DEE D. DRELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
before the court for decision are three (3) motions, one on
behalf of each defendant (Docs. 250, 251 and 254). These
three (3) motions all seek to have judgments of acquittal
entered or alternatively, seek a new trial on all counts.
relevant history of this case reflects that all three (3)
defendants went to trial on four (4) felony counts of a
Second Superseding Indictment: conspiracy to commit bank and
wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of making
a false statement to a bank (limited as to the Defendants
Duruisseau only). These charges arose out of a fraudulent
real estate financing scheme in which the Duruisseaus
participated as purchasers of residential properties, or had
straw purchasers, arrange financing at victim institutions,
and then, working with Harold Lee as closing attorney, padded
the financing amounts without disclosure. The padded amounts
went into the offenders' pockets. There were multiple
transactions with multiple lenders.
case proceeded to verdict in June 2016. After the close of
the Government's case, Count 4 of the Indictment was
dismissed in its entirety by the court on motion based upon
failure of proof by the Government. As to the other three (3)
counts, the jury found all three (3) defendants guilty.
Post-trial, the Court was treated to a plethora of motions by
the defendants arguing numerous alleged bases for post-trial
relief. These included alleged jury taint, inadequacy of
proof generally, and in particular, the failure of proof on
an essential element of proof as to Count 3. After
substantial briefing, oral presentation, and consideration,
we rule as follows.
pending motions by all three (3) defendants are similarly
structured. All three (3) seek the entry of a Judgment of
Acquittal pursuant to Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure, or, in the alternative, a new trial under
Rule 33. Relevant parts of these rules provide:
Rule of Criminal Procedure 29(c)
After Jury Verdict or Discharge.
(1) Time for a Motion. A defendant may move
for a judgment of acquittal, or renew such a motion, within
14 days after a guilty verdict or after the court discharges
the jury, whichever is later.
(2) Ruling on the Motion. If the jury has
returned a guilty verdict, the court may set aside the
verdict and enter an acquittal. If the jury has failed to
return a verdict, the court may enter a judgment of
(3) No Prior Motion Required. A defendant is
not required to move for a judgment of acquittal before the
court submits the case to the jury as a prerequisite for
making such a motion after jury discharge.
Rule of Criminal Procedure 33(a)
Defendant's Motion. Upon the defendant's
motion, the court may vacate any judgment and grant a new
trial if the interest of justice so requires. If the case was
tried without a jury, the ...