A federal appeals court Thursday upheld former Carson City Councilman Walter. J. (Jake) Egan’s conviction on two counts of extortion in a case involving Orange County fireworks magnate W. Patrick Moriarty, who was convicted of political corruption.
But the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Egan’s conviction on 12 counts of mail fraud, in line with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that the federal mail fraud statute did not apply to political corruption cases in which the victims suffered no financial loss.
Egan was convicted in 1986 and served nine months in Terminal Island federal prison. The extortion counts involved his demanding thousands of dollars from Moriarty in return for favoring Moriarty’s plan to build a mobile home park on a former dump in Carson.
“Like Abraham Lincoln said about the man being run out of town on a rail, ‘If it wasn’t for the honor of the thing, I’d have rather walked,’ ” Egan said of the extortion counts being upheld. “My attorney told me I had a 98% chance of winning it, that it was the strongest appeal he ever filed.”
Jan Lawrence Handzlik, attorney for Moriarty, said the appellate ruling “will only bolster Mr. Moriarty’s argument” in his effort to reverse his own convictions on seven counts of mail fraud.