United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER United States District Judge
criminal case, the Government moved in limine, Dkts.
135 and 160, to introduce certain evidence of bad acts of the
Defendants either as intrinsic to the crimes charged in the
Superseding Indictment or, in the alternative, as extrinsic
evidence admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b).
Only Defendant Tony Bryant opposed these motions. Opp'n
[Dkt. 143]. The Superseding Indictment charges the Defendants
with conspiracy to commit theft of government funds and to
defraud the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
371. Brian Bryant was also charged with three counts of theft
of public money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, and
Tarkara Cooper and Tony Bryant were each charged with five
such counts. Additionally, Tony Bryant was charged with five
counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1028(A), and Brian Bryant was charged with two
such counts. For the reasons stated at the hearing on January
5, 2017, and discussed below, the Court rules as follows:
Tony Bryant's Bankruptcy Proceeding
Tony Bryant filed for protection of the Bankruptcy Code, 11.
U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq (2012). As part of
that process, he completed two petitions with information
provided under oath and he testified in a Section 341
hearing, 11 U.S.C. § 341 (“Meetings of Creditors
and Equity Security Holders”), for the purpose of
advising his creditors of his assets and liabilities. The
Government argues that Mr. Bryant gave false information in
his petitions for bankruptcy protection and at the Section
341 hearing and that these false statements were, at least in
part, for the purpose of hiding the bank accounts of his
electrical business (which accounts were allegedly used in
the conspiracy) and his income from the charged conspiracy.
The Court cannot now evaluate the scope of the conspiracy or
whether Mr. Bryant's sworn statements in his bankruptcy
proceeding were intrinsic to it.
such evidence is at least extrinsic evidence of “bad
acts” that is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence
404(b). Rule 404(b) provides that evidence of “other
crimes, wrongs, or acts” is admissible for any
non-propensity purpose, including motive, intent, plan,
knowledge, and absence of mistake. See United States v.
Bowie, 232 F.3d 923, 930 (D.C. Cir. 2000). The
Government alleges that Mr. Bryant gave false information in
the bankruptcy proceedings as part of the motive, intent, or
plan of the other charged crimes. Turning to Federal Rule of
Evidence 403,  the Court has considered whether the
probative value of such evidence is substantially outweighed
by unfair prejudice, and concludes that it is not.
“Rule 403 ‘tilts, as do the rules as a whole,
toward the admission of evidence in close cases, ' even
when other crimes evidence is involved” and
“‘it is a sound rule that the balance should
generally be struck in favor of admission when the evidence
indicates a close relationship to the event
charged.'” United States v. Cassell, 292
F.3d 788, 795 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (quoting United
States v. Moore, 732 F. 983, 989 (D.C. Cir. 1984));
see also United States v. Hassanshahi, No. 13-0274,
2016 WL 3566189, at *5 (D.D.C. June 24, 2016). Mr. Bryant is
charged with defrauding the Internal Revenue Service;
evidence of prior “bad acts” that were false
statements for official purposes might show absence of
mistake in the charged actions.
the exception of the evidence relating to Defendant Tony
Bryant's 2012 bankruptcy proceeding, evidence of the bad
acts identified in the Government's motions is admissible
because it is intrinsic to the crimes charged. See United
States v. Badru, 97 F.3d 1471, 1474 (D.C. Cir. 1996)
(“Evidence of criminal activity other than the charged
offense is not considered extrinsic evidence if it
is an uncharged offense which arose out of the same
transaction or series of transactions as the charged offense,
if it was inextricably intertwined with the evidence
regarding the charged offense, or if it is necessary to
complete the story of the crime at trial.”) (emphasis
added). Each of the identified “bad acts”
constitutes an act in support or furtherance of the charged
conspiracy or other specific crimes. Proof remains to be
found by a jury, but the connections are clear.
the Government's Motion and Supplemental Motion Pursuant
to Fed.R.Evid. 404(b), Dkts. 135 and 160, are GRANTED. A
memorializing order accompanies this memorandum.
 Fed.R.Evid. 403 (“The court may
exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is
substantially outweighed by a danger of one or more of the
following: unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading
the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or ...