It hardly seems as though Jack Abramoff--the notorious Washington lobbyist now in jail--could get in more trouble. But a 10-count indictment filed Tuesday by Guam's attorney general charges Abramoff and his former law firm, Greenberg Traurig, as well as a Guam official, with theft, deception, and conspiring to unlawfully influence government officials. According to a copy of the indictment obtained by U.S. News's Emma Schwartz, the case centers on a secret lobbying contract Abramoff and his firm allegedly entered into with the Superior Court of Guam.
In the deal, allegedly cut by court administrator Anthony Sanchez, Abramoff's team was supposed to lobby against a court reform bill before Congress. Not necessarily a big deal there. But in order to allegedly hide the $300,000 deal from Guam authorities, a dummy client named Howard Hills was listed as Abramoff's client, a violation of lobbying laws. In a series of $9,000 checks, the indictment alleges, Sanchez sent Abramoff and his firm $300,000 between January 2001 and February 2003.
The indictment further alleges that even when the discrepancy in the listing was brought to Abramoff's attention, he and his firm failed to make changes to the lobbying forms required by Congress. A previous investigation into the deal was cut short when President Bush removed the prosecutor. The firm declined to comment on the specific indictment but said in a statement to U.S. News: "Greenberg Traurig was a victim of Abramoff's actions." Abramoff's lawyer could not be reached for comment.
By Paul Bedard