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United States v. Campbell

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 21, 2014

ALEX A. CAMPBELL, also known as DAVE, also known as DADDY, Defendant-Appellant

Argued September 12, 2014.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 1:10-cr-00026-1 -- Robert W. Gettleman, Judge.

For United States of America, Plaintiff - Appellee: Helene B. Greenwald, Office of The United States Attorney, Chicago, IL.

For Alex A. Campbell, also known as: DAVE, also known as: DADDY, Defendant - Appellant: James E. Griffith, Thomas L. Shriner Jr., Christopher G. Ward, Foley & Lardner Llp, Chicago, IL.

Before EASTERBROOK, SYKES, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.


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Tinder, Circuit Judge.

Defendant-Appellant Alex Campbell, also known as " Daddy" , " Dave" and " Cowboy" , recruited young women in the United States illegally to work for him as masseuses and, ultimately, prostitutes. He referred to these women as his " Family" . At first, Campbell enticed the women into joining his Family by offering them comfortable places to live, and jobs in massage parlors with no expectation that they perform sexual services. Once he had gained their trust, Campbell required the women to break their ties with their relatives and friends, and confiscated their identification, immigration documents and money. Campbell renamed them, branded them with tattoos, abused them, and forced them to engage in prostitution for his benefit.

Eventually, one of Campbell's victims turned to law enforcement. This led to an investigation, which resulted in an eleven-count indictment. A jury found Campbell guilty on all counts and the district court sentenced him to life imprisonment. Campbell appeals his conviction of two

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counts of harboring illegal aliens, one count of extortion under the Hobbs Act, and one count of sex trafficking under the Trafficking Victim's Protection Act. Specifically, Campbell contends that the district court erred in failing to instruct the jury that harboring requires proof of his intent to shield the alien from detection by law enforcement, and the Government's evidence of such intent was insufficient. Campbell also contends that the Government's evidence was insufficient to establish the required interstate commerce elements under the Hobbs Act and the Trafficking Victim's Protection Act.

I. Background

On January 12, 2010, the Government filed a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Campbell and Danielle John. Both Campbell and John were indicted on April 15, 2010. On November 29, 2010, John withdrew her not-guilty plea pursuant to a plea agreement. On December 30, 2010, a Superseding Indictment was filed against Campbell alone, containing the following eleven counts: obtaining labor and services of others by force, serious harm and abuse, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1589 (Counts 1, 2 and 3); concealing, harboring and shielding illegal aliens for commercial advantage, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § § 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), 1324(a)(1)(A)(v)(II) & 1324(a)(1)(B)(i) (Counts 4, 5, and 6); concealing identity and immigration documents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1592(a) (Counts 7, 8, and 9); sex trafficking, in violation of the Trafficking Victim's Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) (Count 10); and extortion, in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) (Count 11). A jury found Campbell guilty on all counts, but the district court granted Campbell's motion for acquittal as to Count 5. Campbell was sentenced on all remaining counts. On appeal, Campbell only challenges his conviction of the following: Counts 4 and 6, for harboring illegal aliens " Diamond" and " Loni" , respectively; Count 10, for sex trafficking related to Diamond; and Count 11, for extortion of " Masha" .[1] Accordingly, we will focus on the evidence adduced at trial related to Campbell's interactions with Diamond, Loni and Masha. And if Tolstoy was correct that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, some detail will be necessary to show the way in which Campbell made his " Family" uniquely unhappy.

A. Diamond

Diamond, who was born in Ukraine, came to the United States in 2007 to be an au pair in Ohio and Georgia. Her last au pair assignment ended in November 2007, when she had a month left on her visa. Seven months later, Diamond, then 20 years old, had moved to Chicago and was looking for work. In June 2008, Diamond was hired by Bo Liu, Campbell's business associate, to be a masseuse at a massage parlor, after she responded to an internet advertisement for an administrative assistant. Shortly after being hired, she met Campbell, who was 43 years old, used the name " Dave" , and was introduced to Diamond

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as the owner of the massage parlor. During their first conversation, Campbell assured Diamond: " In my spas, there are no illegal activities." On the same day, she met John, who was known as " Princess" , and who was also born in Ukraine. Diamond understood John to be the manager of the spa, although she took orders from Campbell. Diamond met another female employee of the spa, " Nadya" , who was born in Ukraine. Diamond noticed that John and Nadya had identical tattoos.

After her first day of work, Campbell drove Diamond home in his car. At the beginning of her time at the spa, Campbell treated Diamond nicely, gave her rides, asked her about her life, and--in her mind--became her friend. Campbell asked Diamond about her past in Ukraine, her time in the United States, and the roommate with whom Diamond shared a small apartment. He asked about her legal status in the United States, and Diamond confided in him that she was not in the country legally. Campbell remarked to Diamond that it is hard to be in the United States alone, and she needed someone who could give her advice and help her.

On June 25, 2008, after Diamond had known Campbell for a week, Campbell gave Diamond a ride after work. They ate dinner and Campbell served her alcohol until she became intoxicated. Campbell described the " Family" to her. He said the Family was an organization of friends that help each other. He told her that he was a member of the Family, and he gave $5,000 a month to other members of the Family. He asked her if she would like to join the Family. She asked if she would need to pay money to join. He said that she would not need to pay money, but he told her that every member of the Family had a horseshoe tattoo. He said that the tattoo allows members of the Family to identify each other and, " if you need help, and they see this tattoo, they will help you." At the end of the conversation, while Diamond was still intoxicated, Campbell took Diamond to a tattoo shop and Diamond received her first tattoo, a horseshoe on her neck.

Within a week of receiving the tattoo, Campbell and Diamond began a sexual relationship. Campbell had Diamond refer to him as " Daddy" . Campbell told Diamond that she needed a pseudonym to give to massage clients. At first, he let her choose the name, but later, Campbell gave her a new name: " Diamond" . He told her that she was like " a diamond in the rough," but it takes " a lot of pressure to actually make it a real diamond." Shortly after their sexual relationship began, Campbell had Diamond receive a second tattoo, this time on her chest. The tattoo depicted a horseshoe, with " Cowboy" --Campbell's self-appointed moniker--written at the tip, and " Diamond" written inside the horseshoe, along with " AAC" and " 917" , Campbell's initials and his birthday.

For two weeks after being tattooed, Diamond was paid for her work at the spa. Then, Campbell told her that he would keep all the money she earned in an envelope with her name on it. He told her that he would keep it safe, and if she needed it, she could have it at any time. Diamond felt that Campbell treated her well during this time, and she thought she was falling in love with him.

Campbell told Diamond that she would have to undergo an orientation for joining the Family. This orientation included training on the Family rules, such as the requirement to keep in constant contact with Campbell via phone calls and text messages, and to have no contact with " society" (Campbell's word for non-Family

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members). During orientation, Campbell took Diamond's passport, and told her he was giving it to Danielle John so it would be kept safe.

Campbell told Diamond that her roommate was jealous of her, and would report her to immigration authorities which would result in Diamond being deported. Campbell demanded that Diamond immediately move out of her shared apartment and into an apartment he provided. At first, Diamond moved into John's apartment, which was in the building that housed " Elle Spa," a massage parlor under Campbell's control. In late-July 2008, Campbell rented a studio apartment for Diamond in the same building. Campbell furnished the apartment and paid the bills.

At the end of July 2008, Campbell learned that Diamond had smoked a cigarette after he had previously forbade her from smoking for the day. Campbell told Diamond that she had cheated on the Family, and he ordered her to take off her clothes, and he beat her with a belt. The same night, John took all of Diamond's identification documents and bank cards. While Campbell told Diamond she could not talk to anyone other than Campbell and John, John erased all of the phone numbers in Diamond's phone except Campbell's and John's numbers. While Campbell told Diamond she was not allowed to keep track of money, John erased a record of earnings Diamond had been keeping on her phone.

After that incident, Campbell began inflicting what he referred to as " punishments" on Diamond. He forbade her from speaking to her parents, and from smoking, drinking and eating sweets. Campbell repeatedly beat her with his belt or hand, and he forced her to extinguish a lit cigarette using her naked buttocks. Campbell told Diamond that he had video surveillance cameras throughout the spas where Campbell forced Diamond to work without pay seven days a week. Campbell told her that if she tried to run from him he would find her. He emphasized that she was in the country illegally, had no passport, no identification, no money and no friends in the United States. Campbell claimed he was a professional assassin, who was good at tracking and killing people. He told Diamond repeatedly that if anyone in the Family went to the authorities, he would kill that person or he would " just come to the courtroom and shoot everybody." Campbell told her that she should say nothing if she were ever questioned by law enforcement, and that the police often beat and raped women. Campbell ordered Diamond to spy on other spa employees and report to Campbell what they did and said.

In September 2008, Campbell told Diamond he was a " pimp" and she would engage in prostitution for his benefit. He said that all of the members of the Family engaged in prostitution for him, and he ordered John to teach Diamond the mechanics of how prostitution worked, such as how to negotiate with customers, screen customers to ensure they were not law enforcement agents, and which sex acts were expected. In October 2008, Campbell ordered Diamond to have sex with his business partner Bo Liu, get pregnant from him, and give him the baby. Diamond agreed to the request, fearing for her life. Bo Liu made monthly payments to Campbell for this.

In November 2008, Diamond was late in texting Campbell that she had finished a massage. Campbell responded by beating Diamond with his belt and forcing her to live in Elle Spa. The conditions in the spa were unsanitary, and she was given little food to eat, going for stretches of up to 48 hours without food. Campbell also ...

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