Convictions In The Abramoff Corruption Probe
The lawmakers, lobbyists, Bush administration officials, congressional staffers and businessmen caught up in the Jack Abramoff public corruption probe:
- Abramoff was sentenced in September 2008 to four years in prison on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. Since pleading guilty in 2006, the once-powerful lobbyist has cooperated with the federal investigation of influence-peddling in Washington. He was sentenced to a six-year prison sentence in a criminal case out of Florida, where he pleaded guilty in January 2006 to charges of conspiracy, honest services fraud and tax evasion in the purchase of gambling cruise boats. He was released to a halfway house in June 2010, then home confinement and worked at a pizzeria until late last year.
- David Safavian, the former chief procurement officer in the administration of President George W. Bush, was sentenced in October 2009 to a year in prison after being found guilty in a retrial in December 2008 for lying to investigators about his relationship with Abramoff, who provided gifts in return for information from Safavian about government property the lobbyist wanted to acquire. Safavian's 2006 conviction on similar charges was overturned on appeal. The U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments in his appeal of his second set of convictions on Oct 22.
- Kevin Ring, an ex-lobbyist who worked for Abramoff, was convicted Nov. 15 of bribing public officials with expensive meals and exclusive event tickets. An earlier jury could not agree on a verdict in October 2009 on charges that Ring showered tickets and meals on employees of then-Republican Reps. John Doolittle of California and Ernest Istook of Oklahoma and the Justice Department in return for congressional appropriations and other assistance for Abramoff's clients. The second trial found the 40-year-old former Republican congressional aide guilty of conspiracy, honest services fraud and giving an illegal gratuity to an aide of former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Sentencing is scheduled for March 1.
- Former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, served a prison term and was released in August 2008. He acknowledged taking bribes from Abramoff. Ney was in the traveling party on an Abramoff-sponsored golfing trip to Scotland that was at the heart of the case against Safavian.
-Former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles, the highest-ranking Bush administration official convicted in the scandal, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for obstructing justice. He admitted lying to a Senate committee about his relationship with Abramoff, who repeatedly sought Griles' intervention at Interior on behalf of Indian tribal clients.
- John Albaugh, former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Earnest Istook, R-Okla., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the House. Albaugh admitted in federal court in Washington that he accepted meals and sports and concert tickets, along with other perks, from lobbyists in exchange for official favors. Sentencing is set for Feb. 28.
- Robert E. Coughlin II, a Justice Department official, pleaded guilty to conflict of interest. He admitted in federal court in Washington that he accepted meals, concert tickets and luxury seats at Redskins and Wizards games from Ring, while helping the lobbyist and his clients. In November 2009, a U.S. District judge said Coughlin did not deserve prison time for his actions.
- Italia Federici, co-founder of the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, was sentenced to two months in a halfway house, four years on probation and a $74,000 fine after agreeing to help federal investigators. She pleaded guilty to tax evasion and obstruction of a Senate investigation into Abramoff's relationship with Interior Department officials.
- Tony Rudy, lobbyist and one-time aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, pleaded guilty in March 2006 to conspiring with Abramoff. His sentencing is scheduled for March 24.
- Michael Scanlon, a former Abramoff business partner and DeLay aide, pleaded guilty in November 2005 to conspiring to bribe public officials through his lobbying work on behalf of Indian tribes and casino issues. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
- William Heaton, Ney's former chief of staff, pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge involving a golf trip to Scotland, expensive meals, and tickets to sporting events between 2002 and 2004 as payoffs for helping Abramoff's clients. He cooperated with investigators and was sentenced to two years' probation and a $5,000 fine.
- Neil Volz, a former chief of staff to Ney who left government to work for Abramoff, was sentenced to two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine after pleading guilty to conspiring to corrupt Ney and others with trips and other aid.
- Mark Zachares, former aide to Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, pleaded guilty to conspiracy. He acknowledged accepting tens of thousands of dollars' worth of gifts and a golf trip to Scotland from Abramoff's team in exchange for official acts on the lobbyist's behalf. He was sentenced to four years' probation and 12 weekends in jail.
- Trevor L. Blackann, a former aide to Missouri Republicans Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Roy Blunt, pleaded guilty to not reporting $4,100 in gifts from lobbyists in return for helping clients of Abramoff and his associates. Among the gifts were tickets to the World Series and concerts, plus meals and entertainment at a "gentleman's club." His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
- James Hirni, a former Republican Senate aide and one-time Abramoff associate, pleaded guilty to using wire communications to defraud taxpayers of congressional aides' honest services. Hirni acknowledged providing Blackann with meals, concert passes and tickets to the opening game of the 2003 World Series between the Florida Marlins and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
- Todd Boulanger, a former Abramoff deputy, pleaded guilty to lavishing congressional aides with meals and tickets to sporting events, concerts and the circus in exchange for help with legislation favorable to his clients. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.
- Ann Copland, a former aide to Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, pleaded guilty to taking more than $25,000 worth of concert and sporting event tickets in return for helping one of Abramoff's top clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She was sentenced to 75 days in a halfway house and 75 days of home detention and placed on probation for two years.
- Roger Stillwell, a former Interior Department official, was sentenced to two years on probation in January 2007 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge for not reporting hundreds of dollars' worth of sports and concert tickets he received from Abramoff.
- Former Abramoff business partner Adam Kidan was sentenced in Florida in March 2006 to nearly six years in prison for conspiracy and fraud in the 2000 purchase of the Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.
- Horace Cooper, a former Labor Department official and one-time aide to former Republican Rep. Dick Armey pleaded guilty in April 2010 to falsifying a document when he did not report receiving gifts from Abramoff and Volz in 2003. He was placed on probation for three years.
- Fraser Verrusio, a former aide to Young, was found guilty of conspiracy and accepting an illegal gratuity for taking a trip to the first game of the 2003 World Series in New York with a corporate official and lobbyist who picked up the tab. He also was found guilty of making a false statement for failing to report the trip on his House financial disclosure form. His sentencing is scheduled for May 6.
for more features.