Find Post Investigations On:
Facebook Scribd Twitter
Friendfeed RSS Google Reader
» About This Blog | Meet the Investigative Team | Subscribe
Ongoing Investigation

Top Secret America

The Post explores the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

Ongoing Investigation

The Hidden Life of Guns

How guns move through American society, from store counter to crime scene.

Have a Tip?

Talk to Us

If you have solid tips, news or documents on potential ethical violations or abuses of power, we want to know. Send us your suggestions.
• E-mail Us


Post Investigations
In-depth investigative news
and multimedia from The Washington Post.
• Special Reports
• The Blog

Reporters' Notebook
An insider's guide to investigative news: reporters offer insights on their stories.

The Daily Read
A daily look at investigative news of note across the Web.

Top Picks
A weekly review of the best
in-depth and investigative reports from across the nation.

Hot Documents
Court filings, letters, audits and other documents of interest.

D.C. Region
Post coverage of investigative news in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Washington Watchdogs
A periodic look into official government investigations.

Help! What Is RSS?
Find out how to follow Post Investigations in your favorite RSS reader.

Hot Comments

Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

Recent Posts
Bob Woodward

The Washington Post's permanent investigative unit was set up in 1982 under Bob Woodward.

See what you missed, find what you're looking for.
Blog Archive »
Investigations Archive »

Have a Tip?
Send us information on ethics violations or abuses of power.
E-Mail Us »

Notable investigative projects from other news outlets.
On the Web »
Top Picks »

Justice Dept Seeks Reduced Abramoff Sentence

POSTED: 07:11 PM ET, 08/27/2008 by The Editors

Since his conviction on fraud and conspiracy charges, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has spent more than 3,000 hours helping more than 100 law enforcement agents in an ongoing federal corruption probe that has implicated "scores of other persons not yet charged," attorneys said in court filings today.

The Post's James V. Grimaldi reports that the extent of Abramoff's cooperation was described in documents from both prosecutors and defense lawyers. They are seeking leniency from the judges who heard the two cases that landed the Republican influence broker in federal prison in Cumberland, Md.

If a federal judge in Washington accepts the recommendation from the Justice Department, Abramoff would serve no more than another three years and three months in prison, not accounting for credit for good behavior awarded by the Bureau of Prisons. Abramoff's attorneys are seeking even more leniency that could have him released from prison by 2010.

In November 2006, Abramoff began serving a sentence of five years and 10 months for fraud in his purchase of a Florida casino cruise line. Attorneys for both sides are seeking a reduction to three years and nine months.

Abramoff's sentencing in a parallel case of tax evasion, fraud and conspiracy to ply public officials with gifts in exchange for official actions had been delayed until he had mostly completed his cooperation with authorities. The sentencing is set for Sept. 4 before U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle.

In the public corruption case, the Justice Department is asking Huvelle to sentence Abramoff to five years and four months rather than the maximum 11 years and three months he'd be eligible to receive. The sentences in the two cases would be served at the same time. The government also is seeking about $23 million in restitution.

Abramoff attorneys Abbe D. Lowell of Washington and Neal R.Sonnett of Miami noted in a memorandum that in addition to the meeting with FBI and other agents, Abramoff had reviewed more than a half-million documents.

They also noted that the ex-powerhouse lobbyist had helped convict more than a dozen people, in addition to admitting guilt himself, and his case had prompted reforms that the attorneys said were widely known as "Abramoff Ethics Rules." Among those who have pleaded guilty were former Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), who this month was released after he completed his prison sentence, and J. Steven Griles, the No. 2 official in the Interior Department.

The court papers indicate an extensive ongoing investigation by referencing a document that is sealed because it contains grand jury information. Still under investigation are former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), among others.

One new scheme revealed in the papers is that Abramoff and his team of K Street lobbyists padded their billing records -- not to cheat clients, most of whom had hired them on retainer, but to bilk additional bonuses out of their firm, Greenberg Traurig LLP, because "padded hours possibly resulted in higher bonuses," according to a government brief signed by William Welch, head of the public integrity section, and prosecutor Mary Butler.

Abramoff's attorneys also referred to a statement by Noel Hillman, former public integrity chief at Justice and now is a federal judge in New Jersey, who has said that Mr. Abramoff's decision to plead guilty and cooperate and expose the wrongs he and others did was a 'watershed' event in addressing public corruption."

By The Editors |  August 27, 2008; 7:11 PM ET Abramoff Scandal
Previous: The Daily Read | Next: The Daily Read


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Jackie the Rat.

It's ok. He'll be living this sentence for life regardless of whether or not he's locked up.

I mean, it's not like us bloggers are going to let anyone forget. Especially not him. ;)

Posted by: captainkona | August 28, 2008 12:58 AM

I sincerely hope that he can claim redemption in the future having had his passed bad deeds exposed. I also hope with all that help he has given the FBI and other Justice Dept. officials that we have learned from our failures in allowing someone like Abromoff to operate in illegality for so long. His crimes are not one time offenses but rather a pattern of offenses which resulting in criminal activity. He obviously is not stupid and chose this path for whatever reason. I believe in forgiveness but I will never forget the actions you and your ilk took. So if you can make a better go of it with a second chance then I welcome your contribution which you have left to give!

Posted by: Joshquasimoto | August 28, 2008 1:06 AM

John McCain should release all the documents he is holding back that relate to Abramoff. I have no problem with Jack receiving a lesser sentence for cooperation but only if the court of public opinion has its fair say.

Posted by: joel | August 28, 2008 1:44 AM

Another example of the corruption of the Bush Justice Department. Abramoff was at the center of a massive crime wave. He was charged with only a tiny fraction of the crimes he actually committed. He kept his mouth shut about the influence he had in the White House, with Cheney and Rove, and even Bush himself. That is why he is being rewarded. It's like letting John Gotti off for fingering his lowest level henchmen. Contrast this with the ridiculous sentences handed out in federal drug cases to people who have no one to rat on. Disgusting.

Posted by: SteveF24 | August 28, 2008 8:33 AM

Abramoff is going to sing much. He's playing around on the keyboard, waiting for that modulation known as a presidential pardon.

You can bet that if Joe Blow gets ten years for stealing a sixpack of beer or growing a little pot, the feds aren't going to cut him a deal.

If the DOJ would get some convictions for the war crimes committed by the White House, they might be useful again to the American people.

But until then, it's just another politicized branch of government - no better than Bush/Cheney.

Posted by: Dennis | August 28, 2008 10:01 AM

Sounds good to me.

Why should people like Abramoff, Scanlon, Griles, and Ney go to jail anyway?

The public can't see and understand how people like this and their actions actually harm them, so it doesn't register and therefore matter to them whether they get thrown in jail or not.

And besides, they've done such a beautiful job of providing our great authorities with such invaluable information and assistance.

Maybe we should give them medals instead. And a job, maybe!

Posted by: Goldie | August 28, 2008 10:34 AM

That Tom Delay operated for so many years in the Congress is an outrage. Even more of an outrage is that he is not in Jail.
And the close connnection with Karl Rove and the White House with Delay and Abramoff, implicates them as well in criminal activity. They and the Whitehouse were clearly complicite in influence peddling schemes.

Posted by: keith | August 28, 2008 10:53 AM

Voters and taxpayers , the primary consumers
of the criminal-justice system have no clue
that the fix is in for Jack Abramoff.
Read David Burnham's book ABOVE THE LAW
for a good read how FBI agents and their parent corporation fix cases.
Visit Burnham's website
To view over 400 pages of crimes committed by FBI agents see
click on home
click on forum
scroll down to FBI WATCH
See invesigative reporter Daniel Hopsicker's site Mad Cow News
for how bad Jack Abramoff is.

Posted by: msfreeh | August 28, 2008 11:11 AM

The DOJ remains the Bu$h / Cheney "Get Out of Jail Free" Card. Absolute travesty and a slap in the face to true patriots who fought and died for this country.

I am a former republican who will never again vote for these thieving liars and un-American scoundrels. They have brought this country to the brink of total destruction and sang their patriotic lies the entire time.

The legislative branch of this government needs a complete overhaul and a re-assessment of current laws and policies.

For these scum-bag traitors to walk or get pardoned or reduced sentences is a slap in the face to our country and CAN NOT STAND.

Benedict Arnold has nothing on this administration and history will judge them accordingly.

Remember the names and teach them to your children..

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Feith, Rove, Abramhoff, Ashcroft, Gonzales, Mukasey, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the GODDAMNED criminal enterprise that has hijacked this beautiful and great country for their own evil plan of world destruction and profiteering from the suffering of innocent human beings.

Everything they have said has turned out to be a lie. Everything they have done has been a sham in order to progress their dream of a destroyed government now run by corporations and traitors.

You must not let this stand! Turn OFF Fox News, Don't believe A WORD that John McCain says- he is one of them! Pay very close attention to these liars and NEVER give them an inch!

Like I said I am a former republican who loves this country. I did not vote for Bush either time because I could see clearly that he had no right to be anywhere near the White House. His crimes and malfeasance are now well documented.

The same names keep popping up again and again. Time for the citizens of this country to STOP giving them any credibility or outlet for their lies. When they give a press conference, don't show up. When they make a proclamation, ridicule it. When they run for office, at the national, state and local level- stop them at all costs. The price is too great to allow these liars and ideological midgets any progress whatsoever.

Please do the right thing, America. I love you!

Posted by: Winston Smith | August 28, 2008 11:40 AM

If this jerk gets out of jail early the "justice system" has gone to hell. If McCain is elected we as a country are going to see alot more of this ridiculous, pathetic sentencing for the the real criminals in the US, those who lie, cheat and steal to get what they want...the politicians.

Posted by: Ridiculous | August 28, 2008 12:20 PM

Winston Smith - I was very moved by your passionate comments, and I agree. Well said!

Posted by: sgurski | August 28, 2008 12:22 PM

FOX news is hiring! He can have a seat right beside Karl Rove.

Posted by: purple1 | August 28, 2008 12:46 PM

I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in accountability. He should do his time more honestly than he led his professional life.

Posted by: M Wiese | August 28, 2008 12:48 PM

The bastard should do live. He is only of the most vile criminal defendants in Federal case history.

Posted by: Gus Boulis | August 28, 2008 11:27 PM

The comments posted here earlier by Winston Smith spurred me to make my own comment. Thank you Mr. Smith. I fully agree with your post. Bottom line is that for the sake of our children, they must see that people are held accountable for their bad deeds and actions. The recent DOJ actions are not fair or right. Basically, Bush and his cronies should be tried for crimes against the Constitution and the people of the US and world.

Posted by: Luca Ponti | August 28, 2008 11:53 PM

Did the people who went to prison over Abu Ghraib get out early. Did they retain their benefits or is it only the grunts who get shafted. He'll be right back in the money circles again like Kissinger,Rumsfeld, Perle, Libby, Lay and Lott. I'm only sorry he doesn't have to register as a sex offender. His Capitol Athletic Assoc. was a funnel for money to train snipers in Israel to kill Palestinian schoolchildren. He is a lying, murderous thief and he should have to walk the yards of maximum security prison with the Aryans, the Bloods, the Mexican Mafia and the genuine nut cases. Oh, Crips too...

Posted by: charles t. williams | August 29, 2008 12:20 AM

As an attorney who represents one of the tribes victimized by the Abramoff/Scanlon scheme I am aware that the public corruption section informed the tribe recently that they have determined that restitution is due the tribe from Abramoff and that they will have an opportunity to make a statement at the sentencing. I contacted Mary Butler to inquire how they arrived at the amount of restitution and she has not had the decency to return the call. Even more disturbing is the fact that they also never informed the tribe of their decision to seek a reduced sentence for Abramoff and what impact that decision may have on the tribe. These actions surely reflect poorly on the leadership at DOJ and its integrity. While the tribe continues to be treated as a perpetrator by members of Congress today and for the forseeable future Mike Scanlon continues to increase the value of his Washington real estate portfolio and now Abramoff will not serve a complete sentence. Where is the justice in that?

Posted by: hmbjr | August 29, 2008 1:18 AM

What's kinda amazing is nothing about his and Tom Delays dirty deals on Guam and in the Mariannas sweatshops. Nothing about the federal prosecutor who was removed by the Bush admin. from the case just as he was about to start indicting these people.
Rove was also a person of interest.
This was missed by all media outlets.

Posted by: Van | August 30, 2008 10:38 AM

Very amazing site
Thanks, webmaster.

Posted by: state electric water heater | September 1, 2008 9:18 PM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining


© 2010 The Washington Post Company