Five years and ten months for Casino Jack.
U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck sentenced Abramoff, 47, and his former partner, Adam R. Kidan, 41, to the shortest possible prison terms under sentencing guidelines in the case. In pleading for the minimum sentence, lawyers for each defendant laid most of the blame on the other for the scam, in which they faked a $23 million wire transfer to obtain financing for the 2000 purchase of SunCruz Casinos from an owner who was later shot to death in a gangland-style hit.
“As you can imagine, this day is incredibly painful for my family, my friends and me,” Abramoff told the judge. “Over the past two years, I have started the process of becoming a new man.”
Although Huck opted for the minimum, Abramoff faces the prospect of at least a few additional years in prison when he is sentenced in a separate case in Washington, D.C. However, lawyers said, his overall sentence ultimately could be reduced depending on his cooperation with federal investigators.
In the Washington case, Abramoff pleaded guilty in January to federal charges of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. His plea deal with federal prosecutors in that case required him to cooperate with a broad federal investigation of corruption involving members of Congress, congressional staffers, other lobbyists and employees of the Interior Department and other federal agencies.
Among the congressmen whose names have come up in the probe are Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), former chairman of the House Administration Committee, and Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the former House majority leader. Ney has been identified as the “Representative #1” who, according to court documents, received bribes from Abramoff in exchange for official acts, including congressional statements that promoted the SunCruz deal during contentious purchase negotiations. DeLay, who once described Abramoff as “one of my closest and dearest friends,” took three overseas trips with the lobbyist and received more than $70,000 in political contributions from him, his associates and his Native American tribal clients. Ney and DeLay have denied any wrongdoing.
So, the main point to remember here is that this is not the Washington case; that investigation, and presumably Abramoff’s cooperation in it, is ongoing. I’ve got a link to the original SunCruz story here, and Julia has a metric boatload of supplemental links. One last point, from The Stakeholder: Among the stubborn handful of Congressfolk who have refused to return Abramoff’s donations to them is our own Rep. Ron Paul. Perhaps someone should ask him about this.