United States District Court, D. Minnesota
M. Provinzino and Melinda A. Williams, Assistant United
States Attorneys, United States Attorney's Office,
counsel for Plaintiff.
D. Sicoli, Esq., Sicoli Law, Ltd., counsel for Defendant.
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Michael Morris'
Motion for Judgment of Acquittal on Count 2 of the Third
Superseding Indictment (Doc. No. 1007). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court denies Defendant's motion.
Third Superseding Indictment in the above-entitled matter
charged Defendant Michael Morris (“Morris”) with
Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking (Count 1), Sex
Trafficking by Use of Force, Threats of Force, Fraud, or
Coercion (Count 2), Conspiracy to Commit Transportation to
Engage in Prostitution (Count 3), Conspiracy to Engage in
Money Laundering (Count 4), and Conspiracy to Use a
Communication Facility to Promote Prostitution (Count 5).
(See Doc. No. 830.) All five counts proceeded to
trial by jury. On December 12, 2018, the jury returned its
verdict, finding Morris guilty of all counts. (Doc. No. 997.)
now moves, pursuant to Rule 29(c) of the Federal Rules of
Criminal Procedure, for judgment of acquittal on Count 2 of
the Third Superseding Indictment. (Doc. No. 1007
(“Memo.”) at 1.) Specifically, Morris argues: (1)
there was insufficient evidence as a matter of law for a
reasonable jury to have convicted him on Count 2, and (2) the
government failed to establish venue in the District of
Minnesota by a preponderance of the evidence to sustain the
conviction. (Id.) The Government opposes Morris'
motion. (Doc. No. 1017.)
Court finds that sufficient evidence exists to support the
verdict reached by the jury as to Count 2 of the Third
Superseding Indictment. The Court also finds that the
government properly established venue in the District of
Minnesota. Therefore, the Court denies Morris' Rule 29(c)
motion for judgment of acquittal.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
maintains that the evidence at trial was insufficient to
support a conviction with respect to Count 2 of the Third
Superseding Indictment. Count 2 charged that:
From in or about April 2009 through in or about January 2010,
in the State and District of Minnesota and elsewhere, the
defendant Michael Morris, a/k/a Bill, aiding and abetting and
aided and abetted by others, . . . knowingly recruited,
enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, and
maintained a person, namely, Victim A, and benefited
financially and by receiving something of value, from
participation in a venture which engaged in the previously
described acts, and knowing that force, threats of force,
fraud, and coercion would be used to cause Victim A to engage