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To convict a defendant under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (2000) for extortion the government must show that he engaged in one of the statutorily identified means to obtain or attempt to obtain property: actual or threatened force, violence, or fear; and that his conduct affected, or was intended to affect, interstate commerce. Stirone v. United States, 212, 218 (1960); Center Cadillac, Inc. v. Bank Leumi Trust Co. of New York, 808 F. Supp. 213, 231-37 (S.D. N.Y. 1992), aff'd, 99 F.3d 401 (2nd Cir. 1995).


The word 'wrongful' in subsection 1951(b)(2) modifies all of the language that follows it, not just the phrase 'actual or threatened force.' United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396, 399, 93 S. Ct. 1007, 35 L. Ed. 2d 379 (1973). Thus, in a Hobbs Act extortion prosecution based upon threats that would instill fear, the defendant must have engaged in the wrongful use of fear or threats that would place the victim in fear. Also, the word 'wrongful' in the statute 'limits [its] coverage to those instances where the obtaining of the property would itself be 'wrongful' because the alleged extortionist has no lawful claim to that property.' ...

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