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

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 Abramoff's Florida Sentencing May Force Details of Cooperation

March 6 (Bloomberg) -- A federal judge in Miami set a March 29 sentencing date for lobbyist Jack Abramoff in connection with a wire-fraud case, prompting prosecutors and defense lawyers to warn that his cooperation in a separate federal corruption probe may be hindered.

U.S. District Judge Paul Huck moved Abramoff's sentencing from its original March 16 date and said he's willing to consider delaying the lobbyist's surrender, as well as that of his business partner Adam Kidan, to aid their continued cooperation. Abramoff's lawyer said he may be forced to make public details of his cooperation to help make the case for a lenient sentence.

``We would be naming names, and we would be providing evidence of what's going on out there,'' Abbe Lowell, one of Abramoff's lawyers, told Huck. ``This is not going to be good for the government.''

Abramoff, 47, pleaded guilty in Miami on Jan. 4 to conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with a $147.5 million purchase of a Florida gambling-boat company in 2000. The day before, he pleaded guilty in Washington to fraud and conspiracy to corrupt public officials. He is now working with U.S. investigators, and assistant U.S. attorney Lawrence LaVecchio described Abramoff at today's hearing as ``very cooperative.''

The lobbyist faces as many as seven years in prison for conspiracy and wire fraud in the Florida case.

Abramoff, a former top fund-raiser for Republicans and President George W. Bush, is at the center of a Washington scandal. His connections in government extended to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Ohio Representative Bob Ney.

Ney temporarily gave up his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee in January, citing the ``distraction'' of allegations that he received gifts and other benefits from Abramoff. Ney denies wrongdoing.


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