It’s also true that statutes prohibiting crimes such as conspiracy, obstruction of justice and corruption are notoriously broad. This is a characteristic of white-collar crime in general, not just political corruption cases. Fraud and corruption are squishier concepts than, say, robbery or assault. As a result, white-collar statutes leave more room for prosecutorial discretion. We must always be on guard to ensure that those statutes are not abused by overzealous prosecutors.

But it’s also a fact of life that there are political overtones in any public corruption prosecution. I’ve yet to see a high-profile defendant in a corruption case who did not assert some variation of “this is a political witch hunt by my enemies.” The politician’s claim that he or she is being prosecuted for political differences rather than actual criminal misconduct is Criminal Defense 101 in a public corruption case. It cannot simply be accepted at face value.

When it comes to particular cases, Dershowitz’s arguments break down.