Federal Prosecuters Still Employed: How Corrupt Are They? (Abramoff Ed)
Hey, Josh, everybody- is this relevant?
Former Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, sentenced to almost six years in prison for his fraudulent purchase of a South Florida gambling fleet, can receive a reduced sentence if he continues to assist prosecutors in a far-reaching Washington public corruption probe, federal officials said Wednesday.
The U.S. attorney's office in Miami filed the paperwork seeking to reduce Abramoff's 70-month prison term stemming from the SunCruz Casinos case, but did not specify any time off his sentence.
Instead, prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Paul Huck to delay that decision until a hearing is held to weigh Abramoff's value as a witness in the Washington influence-peddling investigation.
The corruption case, which revolves around Abramoff's representation of American Indian tribal clients and lavish gifts to lawmakers, has snared the convictions of ex-U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, former congressional aides and Capitol Hill lobbyists. Abramoff also pleaded guilty in that investigation.
''Some of the information provided by the defendant to the government within one year of the [March 29, 2006, SunCruz] sentencing did not become useful to the government until recently because it concerns the investigation of others outside the Southern District of Florida,'' prosecutor Paul Schwartz wrote in his filing.
Abramoff, who remains at the center of the Washington probe from behind bars, turned himself in last November for lying to lenders to obtain a $60 million bank loan to buy the SunCruz Casinos fleet, based in Dania Beach.
Abramoff and his SunCruz business partner, Adam Kidan of New York, who is serving a similar prison sentence, used that money to buy the gambling fleet for $147 million from Fort Lauderdale tycoon Konstantinos ''Gus'' Boulis in fall 2000.
The SunCruz case against Abramoff and Kidan gave Justice Department officials the leverage to pressure Abramoff to turn on others in his political circle.
The government's case against Ney, who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, was based primarily on his behind-the-scenes work for Abramoff's clients in exchange for a golf trip to Scotland, campaign money and professional sports tickets. Ney also took tens of thousands of dollars in casino chips and cash from a foreign businessman seeking political favors.
But the charges also included the former lawmaker's unusual tactics to help Abramoff buy the SunCruz fleet. In exchange, Abramoff gave a $10,000 campaign bribe from the company's coffers to the Ohio congressman for his supporting role in the purchase.
Perhaps it's time to go snooping around that case a little more. I know that this is presented as a "good" thing in the Ney investigation, but forgive me if I am suspicious. Legal minds please chime in.