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January 3, 2006

Lobbyist Abramoff strikes plea deal

According to this New York Times article, lobbyist Jack Abramoff "will plead guilty to three felony counts in Washington on Wednesday," which will give the Justice Department "a potentially critical witness to alleged patterns of corruption within the Republican leadership."  Of course, as the article details, this plea deal is ultimately a story about sentencing:

Mr. Abramoff, 46, is pleading guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion, setting the stage for prosecutors to begin using him as a cooperating witness against his former business and political colleagues.  In exchange, Mr. Abramoff faces a maximum of about 10 years in prison in the Washington case.

After entering his guilty plea in United States District Court in Washington, Mr. Abramoff will also announce a plea agreement in a related Florida case, in which he was indicted last year. In that case, he is pleading guilty to fraud and conspiracy in connection with his purchase of the SunCruz casino boat line, and will face a maximum of about seven years' prison time....

[T]he deal reached with the Justice Department is all-encompassing, reducing the severe penalties Mr. Abramoff could have faced in either investigation, in exchange for his inside knowledge of certain lobbying work and legislative actions.  One element of the deal is that any he can serve prison time in the two cases concurrently, although the sentencing will not take place until much further along in the investigation.

Additional coverage of the Abramoff plea deal is available from the AP, from MSNBC, and from this (pre-plea) post at TalkLeft.

January 3, 2006 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

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