News and articles relating to the scandal surrounding Washington D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

IR // News // Poaching trial for former Burns aide postponed

HELENA — The poaching trial of a former staffer for U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and one-time associate of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been postponed.

Stillwater County Attorney John Petak III said he and lawyers for Shawn Vasell, 32, of Arlington, Va., are working on a plea agreement in the case. A trial had been scheduled for Tuesday in Columbus.

Vasell, who worked as Burns' state director in 2002, is accused of breaking four state big game laws, including poaching and hunting on private property without permission. The charges stem from a November 2004 incident detailed on the now-defunct personal Web site of Billings resident J.R. Reger.

After Vasell left Burns' Senate office, he took a job lobbying with the firm of Greenberg Traurig, where he worked with Abramoff, who is now at the center of several investigative probes into lobbying fraud.

News reports have identified Vasell as a link between Burns and Abramoff. Abramoff and his tribal lobbying clients gave Burns roughly $137,000 to his campaign war chest, more than to any other lawmaker, Bloomberg News reported this spring.

However, Burns' spokesman has pointed out in the past that the alleged poaching took place more than a year after Vasell left the senator's employment.

Vasell is now a lobbyist at the D.C. office of Hewlett-Packard, political journal Roll Call reported in April.


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