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United States v. Gaudet

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 1, 2019

UNITED STATES, Appellee,
v.
WILLIAM GAUDET, Defendant, Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MAINE [Hon. George Z. Singal, U.S. District Judge]

          Peter J. Cyr, with whom Law Offices of Peter J. Cyr was on brief, for appellant.

          Renee M. Bunker, Assistant United States Attorney, Appellate Chief, with whom Halsey B. Frank, United States Attorney, was on brief, for appellee.

          Before Howard, Chief Judge, Thompson and Barron, Circuit Judges.

          BARRON, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         In 2017, William Gaudet ("Gaudet") was convicted, after trial, in the United States District Court for the District of Maine for federal sex offenses. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Gaudet now challenges his conviction and sentence on appeal. We affirm.

         I.

         Gaudet was indicted on December 14, 2016, on one count of Transportation of a Minor with the Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity, 18 U.S.C. § 2423(a), and one count of Travel with the Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct, 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b), in relation to allegations made by his daughter, T.G. Specifically, she testified at trial that he sexually abused her during a 2010 trip to Maine that he took with her and other family members and during a 2010 trip that he took with her and other family members to the Great Wolf Lodge in Pennsylvania.

         At his trial -- which took place between November 13, 2017, and November 16, 2017 -- the government relied, in part, on recorded testimony given by Gaudet's other daughter, Jenny, from a separate trial, [1] which was admitted in evidence over Gaudet's motion to exclude. In that recorded testimony, Jenny stated that Gaudet had, on two separate occasions during her childhood, abused her in a manner similar to the abusive conduct described by T.G. The government also introduced evidence of Gaudet's conviction for sexually abusing Jenny that resulted from that separate trial.

         At the close of the government's case, Gaudet moved for judgment of acquittal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 29. The District Court denied that motion. Gaudet renewed his motion after the close of all evidence. The District Court again denied his motion. The jury found Gaudet guilty of both counts against him.

         On May 1, 2018, the District Court sentenced Gaudet to life imprisonment on Count One and 360 months of imprisonment on Count Two. In doing so, the District Court applied the United States Sentencing Guidelines enhancement for obstruction of justice, see U.S.S.G. § 3C1.1, which increased Gaudet's base offense level ("BOL") under the guidelines by two levels. According to the District Court, the enhancement for obstruction of justice was warranted because Gaudet had "deliberately [given] false testimony . . . involv[ing] a material matter [i.e. whether he had sexually abused T.G.] and the testimony was not a result of any mistake or faulty memory and was thus willful." Gaudet timely objected to the District Court's application of the sentence enhancement, and the District Court overruled that objection. Gaudet then filed this timely appeal.

         II.

         Gaudet first contends that the District Court erred in denying his Rule 29 motion because the evidence was not sufficient to support his two convictions. We review the denial of a Rule 29 motion for judgment of acquittal de novo. United States v. Gómez-Encarnación, 885 F.3d 52, 55 (1st Cir. 2018). "[W]e must affirm unless the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the government, could not have persuaded any trier of fact of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Id. (citing United States v. Acevedo, 882 F.3d 251, 258 (1st Cir. 2018)).

         The government's case depended in substantial part on the credibility of the testimony of T.G., who testified at trial that Gaudet sexually abused her while she resided with him in Stoneham, Massachusetts between 2008 and 2010, that he sexually abused her during the 2010 family trip to Maine, and that he sexually abused her during the 2010 trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Pennsylvania. Gaudet points, however, to what he contends ...


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