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Stephen Ross, Jimmy Haslam could be prosecuted for violating the Sports Bribery Act

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Article Summary:

Flores has accused Ross of offering $100,000 per loss; former Browns coach Hue Jackson has suggested that Haslam did something similar. Under 18 U.S.C. 224, “Whoever carries into effect, attempts to carry into effect, or conspires with any other person to carry into effect any scheme in commence to influence, in any way, by bribery any sporting contest, with knowledge of the purpose of such scheme is to influence by bribery that contests, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”

Based on the language of the statute, it doesn’t matter whether the offer is accepted. Liability arises if the person “Carries into effect” the scheme or “Attempts to carry into effect” the bribe. The mere offer of $100,000 to Flores, without more, would constitute a violation by Ross.

As to the Browns, acceptance of the inducement and acting on it would potentially extend criminal responsibility beyond Haslam.

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