Skip to comments.Abramoff makes plea deal, will cooperate
Posted on 01/03/2006 9:27:00 AM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lobbyist Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to federal charges in Washington and Miami, clearing the way for him to cooperate in a massive government investigation of influence peddling involving members of Congress, lawyers said Tuesday.
As part of the deal, prosecutors filed conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges against the embattled lobbyist. The filing outlined lavish gifts and contributions that it said Abramoff gave an unnamed House member, identified elsewhere as Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Administration Committee, in return for Ney's agreement to use his office to aid Abramoff clients.
Ney's lawyer, Mark Tuohey, said Tuesday that the charges against Abramoff were "nothing new." He said they repeated information in the November plea agreement from Abramoff's lobbying partner, Michael Scanlon.
Abramoff was scheduled to appear at a hearing in U.S. District Court here later Tuesday, said department spokesman Bryan Sierra. Abramoff was expected to plead guilty to three charges as part of his agreement.
Abramoff was then to plead guilty to two criminal charges in Florida stemming from a 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats, said Neal Sonnett, his attorney there.
Abramoff will plead guilty to two of the six charges in a federal indictment, Sonnett said.
A planned status conference was canceled Tuesday and a change of plea hearing has been scheduled in the Miami case for Wednesday, Justice officials said.
Any such plea agreement likely would secure the Republican lobbyist's testimony against several members of Congress who received favors from him or his clients. The Justice Department is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 lawmakers and aides.
Abramoff's travels with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay are already under criminal investigation. The lobbyist's interactions with the Texas Republican's congressional office frequently came around the time of campaign donations, golf outings or other trips provided or arranged by Abramoff for DeLay and other lawmakers. In all, DeLay received at least $57,000 in political contributions from Abramoff, his lobbying associates or his tribal clients between 2001 and 2004.
The new charges were contained in a criminal information - a filing made by a federal prosecutor with a defendant's permission that bypasses action by a grand jury.
Prosecutors say Abramoff and Scanlon conspired to defraud Indian tribes in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and Texas of millions of dollars. Abramoff reaped roughly $20 million in hidden profits from the scheme, according to the information. Scanlon pleaded guilty in November.
Abramoff and Scanlon also lavished a golf trip to Scotland and other things of value on Ney, the court document said. Ney has denied doing anything wrong.
It also said Abramoff solicited $50,000 from a wireless telephone company and got Ney's agreement to push the company's application to install a wireless telephone infrastructure in the House of Representatives, a job Ney's committee would oversee.
Pressure had been intensifying on Abramoff to strike a deal with prosecutors since another former partner, Adam Kidan, pleaded guilty earlier this month to fraud and conspiracy in connection with the 2000 SunCruz boat deal in Florida.
Abramoff's cooperation would be a boon to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of congressional corruption, possibly helping prosecutors build criminal cases against up to two-dozen lawmakers of both parties and their staff members.
The continuing saga of Abramoff's legal problems has caused anxiety at high levels in Washington, in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan could not say Tuesday whether Abramoff ever met President Bush. But when asked at the White House about this, the spokesman said that "what he is reportedly acknowledged doing is unacceptable and outrageous."
"If laws were broken, he must be held to account for what he did," McClellan said.
For months, prosecutors in Washington have focused on whether Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribal clients of millions of dollars and used improper influence on members of Congress.
In a five-year span ending in early 2004, tribes represented by the lobbyist contributed millions of dollars in casino income to congressional campaigns, often routing the money through political action committees for conservative lawmakers who opposed gambling.
Abramoff also provided trips, sports skybox fundraisers, golf fees, frequent meals, entertainment and jobs for lawmakers' relatives and aides.
In Florida, Abramoff and Kidan were indicted in August on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud in connection with their purchase of the SunCruz fleet for $147.5 million from Miami businessman Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.
Prosecutors said the pair faked a $23 million wire transfer to make it appear that they were making a significant contribution of their own money into the deal. Based on that transfer, lenders Foothill Capital Corp. and Citadel Equity Fund Ltd. agreed to provide $60 million in financing for the purchase.
Kidan pleaded guilty Dec. 15 to one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines at sentencing scheduled for March 1.
Scanlon agreed to cooperate in the SunCruz case as part of a plea agreement in a separate case with federal prosecutors in Washington. In that agreement, Scanlon admitted helping Kidan and Abramoff buy SunCruz, partly by persuading Ney to insert comments in the Congressional Record designed to pressure Boulis to sell.
Key word Abramoff
Plus Reid was on the feed!
But Dorgan gave the money back as did many others so far,.
EXCEPT for Harry Reid and Charlie Rangel and I'm sure others who will claim .. "I never met the man." "He never oput a check in my hand." etc.
But Dorgan gave the money back as did many others so far,.
Not that makes one wit's bit of difference to me nor should it to others.
True campaign finance reform and an end to corruption starts at home and in the hearts of those who say they only seek to serve the public, imo.
Two dozen? Oh, boy. This is going to get covered up real good.
Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday a couple of weeks ago hit up Harry REid about his links to Abramoff and his clients and asked Reid about the $67,000.00 he had received. Of course, the little creep, Reid, was indignant saying "don't try to connect me to this"... DUH
An aide delivers a message to U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), (R) at the start of a U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Iraq reconstruction November 3, 2003. Dorgan said on Tuesday he had returned $67,000 in contributions from clients and co-workers of Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist at the center of the scandal. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
U. S. Representative Bob Ney, R-Oh speaks on election reform to an audience at Cleveland State University, in Cleveland, in this Nov. 30, 2005 file photo. A popular Republican in a district that voted overwhelmingly for President Bush last year, Ney has been subpoenaed in an investigation into whether lobbyist Jack Abramoff tried to defraud Indian tribes out of millions of dollars. (AP Photo/Jamie-Andrea Yanak/File)
Goodbye Reid, Goodbye Doorgan, Goodbye McCaine.....One can only dream....
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is seen on Capitol Hill, November 1, 2005. Reid called the Republican-led Congress 'the most corrupt in history' on Sunday, and distanced himself from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, at the center of an escalating probe. (Jim Young/Reuters)
McCain has been on the other side of this one, e.g. ...
June 22, 2005 · Sen. John McCain holds the third of four hearings on lobbyist Jack Abramoff's suspicious dealings with Indian tribes. Senate hearings have already revealed that he billed six Indian tribes $66 million for his services. Witnesses are expected to tell the panel about more tribal money that allegedly went astray.
Asked to explain Abramoff's request and what she did with it, Federici responded: "We work with people every day with varying levels of decorum." It was a response that drew a puzzled scowl from McCain, who said at one point: "Your answers are so bizarre."
I would trade Dorgan for McCain....hahahahahahahah. Talk about Win-Win.
The Associated Press
Here is a timeline of key events in the Jack Abramoff investigation:
Dec. 13-22: Five members of Congress Rep. Ernest Istook (news, bio, voting record), R-Okla.; Sen. Sam Brownback (news, bio, voting record), R-Kan.; Sen. Max Baucus (news, bio, voting record), D-Mont.; Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting record), R-Mont.; and Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record), D-N.D. return or give away campaign donations they received from Abramoff.
Dec. 15: Abramoff associate Adam Kidan reaches plea bargain with federal prosecutors on fraud charges arising from a 2000 deal to buy casino boats.
Nov. 21: Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, pleads guilty to conspiring to bribe public officials.
Oct. 5: David Safavian, former chief of staff of the General Services Administration, is indicted on charges he made false statements and obstructed a federal investigation into his dealings with lobbyist Abramoff.
Aug. 29: Abramoff pleads innocent to Miami fraud charges.
Aug. 11: Abramoff and associate Adam Kidan indicted by a Miami federal grand jury on fraud charges in the casino boat deal.
Sept. 29: Abramoff refuses to answer questions from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee about his work on behalf of American Indian tribes and casino issues. The Senate committee's staff concluded after a seven-month investigation that Abramoff and his business partner, Michael Scanlon, had charged six tribes in six states a total of $66 million for lobbying and may have manipulated at least two tribal elections to ensure they would get contracts with tribes.
Abramoff donates more than $100,000 to President Bush's reelection campaign.
Abramoff and Kidan purchase the SunCruz Casinos fleet of gambling boats. According to the 2005 Miami indictment, prosecutors say the pair faked a $23 million wire transfer to make it appear that they were making a significant contribution of their own money into the deal. Based on that transfer, lenders Foothill Capital Corp. and Citadel Equity Fund Ltd. agreed to provide $60 million in financing for the purchase.
if it comes too close to a ranking dim, Mr.A better watch out, he could end up another Vince Foster...
From the linked article: "Any such plea agreement likely would secure the Republican lobbyist's testimony against several members of Congress..."
Truth in advertising should demand they be renamed the Press Associated with the Democratic Party
Ney is my congressman and is generally highly regarded here in red Ohio, but it looks like he's in deep doo-doo now.
ap article also on 'net as
Abramoff Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate
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