UNITED STATES NEWS

Convictions in the Abramoff corruption probe

Apr 21, 2012, 7:23 AM

(AP) – Lawmakers, lobbyists, Bush administration officials, congressional staffers and others caught up in the Jack Abramoff public corruption probe:

_Tony Rudy, lobbyist and one-time aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was sentenced Friday to five months in a halfway house, three years probation, $100,000 in restitution to former lobbying clients and a $5,000 fine. Rudy pleaded guilty in March 2006 to conspiring with Abramoff to exchange gifts for legislative favors.

_Abramoff, a prominent Republican lobbyist, was sentenced in September 2008 to four years in prison on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. The once-powerful lobbyist cooperated with the federal investigation of influence-peddling in Washington. He was sentenced to a six-year prison sentence in a criminal case in 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. Following his release from prison in June 2010, and time in a halfway house and home confinement, he has been on a speaking tour to promote a book he wrote last year recounting his experience and warning that more needs to be done to keep special-interest power in check.

_David Safavian, the former chief procurement officer in President George W. Bush’s administration, is serving a year in prison after being found guilty in a retrial for lying to investigators about his relationship with Abramoff. His 2006 conviction on similar charges was overturned on appeal. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his second conviction. Abramoff provided gifts in return for information from Safavian about government property the lobbyist wanted to acquire.

_Kevin Ring, an ex-lobbyist who worked for Abramoff, was convicted in November 2010 of bribing public officials with expensive meals and exclusive event tickets. An earlier jury could not agree on a verdict 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 him guilty of conspiracy, honest services fraud and giving an illegal gratuity. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison but doesn’t have to serve time until an appeal of his conviction has been decided.

_Former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, Ney served a year in prison and six months in a halfway house for granting political favors to Abramoff and his lobbying associates in exchange for golf trips, other gifts and campaign donations. 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 Istook, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the House. Albaugh admitted that he accepted meals and sports and concert tickets, along with other perks, from lobbyists in exchange for official favors. He was sentenced to five years’ probation with four months in a halfway house.

_Robert E. Coughlin II, a Justice Department official, pleaded guilty to conflict of interest. He admitted that he accepted meals, concert tickets and luxury seats at Washington Redskins and Washington Wizards games from Ring, while helping the lobbyist and his clients. In November 2009, he was sentenced to a month in a halfway house, three years of probation and a $2,000 fine.

_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.

_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’ 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.” He was sentenced to one day in jail, two years’ probation and a $500 fine.

_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. He was sentenced to a day in jail, two years’ probation and 100 hours community service.

_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. He was sentenced to a month’s incarceration, two years’ probation and a $4,000 fine.

_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. In February, she was given an additional 15 weekends in jail after getting kicked out of her halfway house for bringing in a steak knife.

_Roger Stillwell, a former Interior Department official, was sentenced to two years’ 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 Rep. Dick Armey, R-Texas, 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 by a jury of conspiracy and accepting an illegal gratuity for taking a trip to the first game of the 2003 World Series 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. He was sentenced to a day in jail, two years’ probation and a $1,000 fine.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Convictions in the Abramoff corruption probe