United States v. Musante: Denied Guilty Plea Withdrawal

In United States v. Musante, No. 15-4241, 2016 BL 71357 (4th Cir. Mar. 09, 2016), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (“Plaintiff”) affirmed the district court’s decision denying Matthew Musante’s (“Defendant”) appeal to withdraw his guilty plea for conspiracy to commit insider trading and transactional money laundering.

There is a strong presumption a guilty plea is final and binding, and to overcome this presumption, a defendant must "show a fair and just reason for requesting the withdrawal." In determining a motion to withdraw, the key factor the court considers is whether the defendant offered credible evidence that his plea was not knowing or voluntary. Defendant argued there was credible evidence his plea was not knowing or voluntary based on a recent decision in United States v. Newman because he did not know the benefit to the insider from the improperly disclosed information.

The district court held the defense derived from Newman was not supported based on the facts of Defendant’s case. The court concluded that the lower court did not commit an abuse of discretion.

Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court’s ruling and denied the Defendant’s motion to withdraw the guilty plea.

The primary materials for this case may be found on the DU Corporate Governance website.

Ken Monington