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Category: Recusal

Aggravated Identity Theft Conviction Affirmed Despite Ambiguous Statutory Language

In United States v. Wedd, the Second Circuit (Cabranes, Park, Nardini), affirmed the defendant’s 2018 convictions for aggravated identity theft (among other offenses), which arose from a scheme to auto-subscribe customers to pricey premium text messaging services.  In the process, the Second Circuit—enhancing a circuit split—rejected Wedd’s argument that the scheme involved no “use[]” of a means of identification of another person, a requisite for conviction under the aggravated identity theft statute.  The panel also rejected Wedd’s contentions that the district court erred in giving a conscious avoidance instruction and in failing to recuse itself from his (third) trial.