Ex-Rep. Bob Ney Gets 30 Months In Jail

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) (C) walks into the Federal Court House for a sentencing hearing January 19, 2007 in Washington DC. Ney pled guilty Octobert 13 to two felony charges of conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements in a congressional bribery scandal. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Getty Images/Mark Wilson

Former Rep. Bob Ney was sentenced Friday to 30 months in federal prison for his role in a congressional bribery scandal.

Ney was the first member of Congress to plead guilty to corruption charges in the scandal revolving around Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff – but that investigation continues and he might not be the last, CBS News correspondent Bob Fuss reports.

Ney admitted he took gifts, meals, free trips and even gambling chips from those who wanted favors, including Abramoff. Ney, who was an influential member of the House Republican leadership, denied wrongdoing right up until he accepted a plea bargain, after which he immediately entered an alcohol rehabilitation program.

He asked the judge for leniency, saying his drinking led to his corruption.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said that Ney would serve his time at a federal prison in Morgantown, West Virginia.

When he is released, the judge said, Ney will serve another two years on probation and pay a $6,000 fine. She also ordered him into a prison alcohol rehabilitation program.

The sentence was harsher than recommended by prosecutors or Ney's lawyers, Huvelle said, because Ney had violated the trust place on him as a public official. "Both your constituents and the public trusted you to represent them honestly," she said.

Ney apologized to his family and constituents during a brief speech to the judge.

"I will continue to take full responsibility, accept the consequences and battle the demons of addiction that are within me," he said.

Abramoff, once an influential lobbyist, is the star witness in an FBI corruption investigation that has shaken Capitol Hill. He is serving prison time for a fraudulent Florida casino deal.

Ney's plea in the election-year scandal drew criticism from Republican congressional leaders and the White House. White House spokesman Tony Snow said Ney's criminal activity "is not a reflection of the Republican Party."

Ney pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements. He is the latest in a string of men convicted in a scandal that so far has caught several lobbyists and two members of the Bush administration.

The gifts Ney received ranged from a trip to Scotland bankrolled by Abramoff's clients to thousands of dollars in gambling chips Ney got on two overseas junkets from foreign businessman Fouad al-Zayat, a Syrian-born aviation company owner in Cyprus.

"I allowed myself to get too comfortable with the way things have been done in Washington, D.C., for too long," Ney said in a written statement after his previous court appearance.
  • Joel Roberts

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