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United States v. Trudeau

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 11, 2016

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
WILLIAM A. TRUDEAU, JR., Defendant.

RULING RE: DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION (DOC. NO. 255), MOTION TO TRANSFER/DISQUALIFY/RECUSE JUDGE (DOC. NO. 257), AND SECOND SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION FOR RECUSAL (DOC. NO. 258)

JANET C. HALL JANET C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

William A. Trudeau, Jr. (“Trudeau”) has filed a number of motions that seek to cause the court to recuse itself from the adjudication of his pending Motion for New Trial (Doc. No. 242) and any future proceedings associated with his case. See Def.’s Response to this Court’s Notice and Ruling on Counsel’s Mot. for Clarification of Status (Doc. No. 245), Mot. in Opp. to Appointment of Counsel and Def.’s Supplemental Mot. for Recusal of the Hon. Janet C. Hall and Prohibition Demand from the Interfering of Judge Hall and Roberta [sic] D. Tabora, Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (“Mot. to Recuse”) (Doc. No. 257); Def.’s Second Supplemental Mot. for Recusal (“Second Mot. to Recuse”) (Doc. No. 258). Trudeau has stated that his first recusal Motion also includes three supplemental Motions to: (1) object to the construction of his Motion for New Trial as a Motion pursuant to section 2255 of title 28 of the United States Code, (2) object to the appointment of counsel as primary counsel, and (3) prohibit the Clerk of Court from interfering with the docketing of Trudeau’s Motions. See Second Mot. to Recuse at 2 (Doc. No. 258).

Trudeau has also filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 255), which Motion asks the court to reconsider its November 17, 2015 Ruling denying his Motion for New Trial, see Ruling (Doc. No. 246). However, the court vacated that Ruling on November 20, 2015, because the Ruling was entered prior to the expiration of time for Trudeau to file, and the court to consider, any reply to the government’s Memorandum in Opposition to Trudeau’s Motion. See Minute Entry (Doc. No. 249) (vacating the court’s Ruling on Trudeau’s Motion for New Trial). Briefing on Trudeau’s Motion for New Trial is now complete, but the court has not yet ruled on that Motion. Thus, Trudeau’s Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 255) is denied as moot.

Although Trudeau’s Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 255) is denied, the court will give full consideration, in connection with his Motions for recusal, to the Affidavit attached to the Motion for Reconsideration, see Aff. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 144 and 28 U.S.C. § 455(a) in Support of the Recusal of the Hon. Janet C. Hall as the Presiding United States District Judge in this Matter (“Trudeau Recusal Aff.”) (Doc. No. 255-1), which Trudeau has characterized as an “appended Motion for Recusal, ” see Mot. to Recuse at 4 (Doc. No. 257).

For the reasons set forth below, Trudeau’s Motions to Recuse (Doc. Nos. 257 & 258) are DENIED, his Motion to restrict the court from construing his Motion for New Trial as a section 2255 Motion (Doc. No. 257) is GRANTED, and his Motion to prohibit the Clerk of Court from interfering with the filing of his Motions (Doc. No. 257) is TERMINATED AS MOOT. Furthermore, the court notes that it has already granted Trudeau’s Motion to limit appointed counsel to standby status. See Order (Doc. No. 259).

II. BACKGROUND

In November 2010, a federal grand jury returned a nine count Indictment against Trudeau that charged him with bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit the aforementioned crimes. See Indictment (Doc. No. 1). On October 9, 2012, a jury convicted Trudeau of one count of wire fraud and the count of conspiracy. See Jury Verdict (Doc. No. 171). The court sentenced Trudeau to 188 months imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and restitution of $4, 260, 008.40. See Judgment at 1-2 (Doc. No. 200).

Trudeau appealed his sentence, making arguments that appear again in various motions presently pending in his case: namely, that the jury convicted him of a single, $50, 000 wire fraud (Count Nine), and that the fraud set forth in Count Nine was necessarily the object of the conspiracy for which he was convicted (Count One). Br. for Def.-Appellant William Trudeau at 16, United States v. Trudeau, 562 Fed.Appx. 30 (2d Cir. 2014). The Second Circuit rejected these arguments on direct appeal, finding that the court acted properly when it found, by a preponderance of the evidence and for purposes of sentencing, that the conspiracy for which Trudeau was convicted was a multi-object conspiracy that went beyond the single wire fraud charged in Count Nine. See Trudeau, 562 Fed.Appx. at 33-34.

The Second Circuit held, however, that the district court improperly concluded that the statutory maximum sentence for Trudeau’s crimes was thirty years, and therefore remanded for the court to assess whether it would have sentenced Trudeau differently if the court had used the correct statutory maximum in its deliberations. Id. at 35. After due consideration, the court found that it would have imposed the same sentence on Trudeau had it understood that the statutory maximum was twenty years imprisonment, and therefore declined to resentence him. See Decision after Consideration of Question on Remand from the U.S.Ct. of Appeals for the Second Circuit at 3 (Doc. No. 237).

Trudeau appealed again, and again contended that the court erred in determining for purposes of sentencing that the conspiracy for which Trudeau was convicted was multi-object. See Br. for Def.-Appellant William Trudeau at 8-9, United States v. Trudeau, No. 14-2449 (2d Cir. Nov. 5, 2014). The Second Circuit summarily affirmed the court’s decision not to resentence Trudeau. See Trudeau, No. 14-2449 (2d Cir. Nov. 5, 2014) (Doc. No. 241).

A year after the conclusion of his last direct appeal-and three years after the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the counts of conspiracy and wire fraud in his criminal trial-Trudeau, acting pro se, filed a Motion seeking a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. See Mot. for New Trial (Doc. No. 242). The court entered a Ruling on that Motion on November 17, 2015. See Ruling (Doc. No. 246). Three days later, having realized that the Ruling on Trudeau’s Motion for New Trial was entered prior to the expiration of time for Trudeau to file a reply to the government’s Opposition to his Motion for New Trial, the court sua sponte vacated its Ruling. See Order (Doc. No. 249) (vacating the court’s Ruling on Trudeau’s Motion for New Trial). On the basis of the arguments made by Trudeau in his Reply, which largely focused on allegations that his trial counsel were ineffective, see Def.’s Reply to Government Response to Order to Show Cause at 3 (Doc. No. 248), the court notified[1] Trudeau that it would construe his Motion for New Trial as a Motion pursuant to section 2255 of title 28 of the United States Code unless Trudeau objected, see Notice and Ruling on Counsel’s Mot. for Clarification of Status (Doc. No. 250), in keeping with Second Circuit case law, see Adams v. United States, 155 F.3d 582, 584 (2d Cir. 1998).

On December 10, 2015, Trudeau, apparently unaware that the court had already vacated its prior Ruling, filed a Motion for Reconsideration. See Mot. for Reconsideration (Doc. No. 255). The Motions for Recusal followed shortly thereafter. See Mot. to Recuse (Doc. No. 257); Second Mot. to Recuse (Doc. No. 258).[2] On December 22, 2015, the government filed an Opposition to Trudeau’s Motions for Recusal. See Government’s Mem. in Response to Def.’s Suppl. Mots. for Recusal (Doc. No. 260). Trudeau’s Reply to the government’s Opposition was ...


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