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Letters Paint Picture Of 'Humble' Abramoff

POSTED: 07:19 PM ET, 08/28/2008 by Derek Kravitz

A few short years ago, Jack Abramoff was wining and dining clients at one of his two glitzy Washington restaurants and greasing the wheels of power by doling out sports tickets, trips and other favors to lawmakers and Washington power brokers.

Now, after nearly two years at a federal prison facility in Cumberland, Md., Abramoff is humble, remorseful and in the midst of the Jewish spiritual process known as "tshuvah" to apologize for his sins, according to 95 letters prepared by friends, family members and religious leaders in support of a reduction in his sentence of nearly six years.

The show of support for a man implicated in one of the largest Washington-area corruption scandals in history is meant to persuade a federal judge to release Abramoff as early as 2010. Abramoff has a sentencing hearing in a separate case set for Sept. 4 but, if the judge accepts a Justice Department recommendation regarding his sentence, Abramoff could be out of prison after another three years and three months, according to court records filed yesterday.

"We appreciate the opportunity to make this submission particularly because media attention regarding Mr. Abramoff -- from newspaper editorials to late-night comic monologues -- has made him into a caricature and has distorted a picture of a man, who like all men, is more than the sum of his tragic mistakes," defense attorney Abbe D. Lowell of Washington wrote.

Full court documents after the jump...

Behind bars since November 2006, Abramoff has been a model prisoner, his attorneys said, teaching three motion picture theory classes and a seminar entitled "Parenting from a Distance" to other inmates.

Rabbi David Lapin, a personal friend and spiritual adviser to Abramoff, wrote in a March 2006 letter that Abramoff "has not become bitter at all -- only humble and very, very sad and sorry for the actions he took and the far-reaching impact they have had."

Abramoff's wife, Pam Abramoff, wrote that the "past 20 months have been a difficult struggle, attempting to raise our children by myself without my husband." She told her husband's attorneys that the family is nearly broke, resorting to buying used clothes, renting rooms to boarders and selling off family antiques and heirlooms. Other family members and friends point to Abramoff's five children being teased and taunted at school and the public humiliation of being linked to the scandal, including a reference actor George Clooney made to Abramoff at the 2005 Academy Awards ceremony.

Together, the letters paint a picture of a man who grew up poor, converted to Orthodox Judaism and, in turn, actively supported Jewish causes, contributing to a host of charities.

"In fact, during the few years when he was receiving considerable income, Mr. Abramoff gave the majority of it (more than 50%) to projects such as opening and helping run schools for Jewish children; opening and running a kosher restaurant; providing room and board and tuition to under-privileged children; donating property to synagogues; and engaging in often anonymous acts of kindness directed at those around him," the court filing says.

The court filing also points out that Abramoff has assisted government investigators, spending more than 3,000 hours as part of an ongoing federal corruption probe that has implicated "scores of other persons not yet charged," attorneys said.

A look at the memorandum filed yesterday by Abramoff's attorneys:

By Derek Kravitz |  August 28, 2008; 7:19 PM ET Abramoff Scandal , Hot Documents
Previous: Measles on Rise as Parents Question Vaccine | Next: New Orleans: Better Prepared This Time?


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Cry me a river. I hope he will rot in his cell.

Posted by: Me | August 28, 2008 8:06 PM

I remember how he lied to Native Americans while his private emails scorned them. How he told them that they were outcasts just like the Jew that he was. If the criminal is now claiming to have reformed and all his grateful friends think he should be released, and sway the justice, then we will have yet another tracesty of justice. This man is an incredile liar without any sympathy for his victims. He needs to spend more time reflecting that lying and cheating does not pay in the long run.


Posted by: Pathma | August 28, 2008 8:09 PM

Probably true that he is remorseful, and it is sad for him and his family. But please remember that his crimes here heinous and the deals he brokered between corrupt government officials and equally corrupt businesses harmed many people.

Posted by: Stuie | August 28, 2008 8:10 PM

Well, Justice Department wants to shorten Jack's sentence. This is the same Justice Department that has lied for the Bush Administration, hired based on the Political affiliation, and many other atrocities against the integrity of Democracy. Is it any wonder they would like to see his sentence shortened. Someone should ask John McCain what he thinks about shortening this sentence.

Posted by: JSK | August 28, 2008 8:12 PM

Posted by: westexacan | August 28, 2008 8:15 PM

Would be have been so sorry and so remorseful had be never been caught?

Posted by: LMH | August 28, 2008 8:23 PM

Isn't this the standard line used by nearly every convicted felon in prison?If he gets out due to these "recommendations", it will prove just how screwed up the justice system really is.He corrupted the corrupt even more with throwing all the goodies at them.Make him do the full term.send a true message to lobbyists and influence peddlars that Americans are really tired of this stuff,and just want a little honesty .

Posted by: pinkydink53 | August 28, 2008 8:27 PM

He should Rot in Jail for ever

Posted by: Jay Bee | August 28, 2008 8:27 PM

Boo hoo.

Posted by: Mike, San Francisco | August 28, 2008 8:32 PM

How to reduce your sentence:
1)Become Jewish and perform "tshuvah"
2)Have a broken home
3)Buy used clothes

Many prisoners have 2 and 3 down already. Is being Jewish and perfoming "tshuvah" the key? I think not. White collar criminals never get what they deserve. I doubt Jack's family is down at GoodWill and the 99cent store buying their necessities.

Posted by: Eric | August 28, 2008 9:10 PM

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Posted by: editor | August 28, 2008 10:01 PM

Wow, you people really don't know anything about what is going on and why he is in prison. You need to take your blinders on politics off. Also, he has been Jewish way before he went to prison.

I always find it interesting when people believe everything they read in the newspaper, like it is not skewed. I suppose it is better the Jack Abramoff is in prison as opposed to all the murderers and rapists, not to mention the child molestors back out on the street.

Posted by: J-bone | August 28, 2008 10:06 PM

Amazing! Using the same exact powers and techniques that he used to screw dozens of people to get exactly what he wanted. Same principles, different context.

Now he wants something else and he's going to do whatever he has to do to get it. Why bother with sentencing guidelines, why bother having a judge?

He has convinced a team of people to help him, AGAIN, put on a big song and dance to distract the world from what he has done.

Some example we set for mankind and the rest of the world. Pathetic in a very sad and disturbing way. I bet this Judge would love to set him free right this second if she could.

And where is the outrage from the Native American community? Why are they so quiet about all of this?

Classic American Moves being made here.

Posted by: payattention | August 28, 2008 10:17 PM

Here's how it should work: You tell the authorities everything you know and you go to jail for however long your supposed to go to jail for. No bargaining and trading of information (that you should be pouring out anyway) for leniency. How pathetic is that? Model citizen my ass. Model bastard and menace to society is more like it.

And whatever happend to Michael Scanlon? Are he and Ralph Reed laughing and living it up on a beach somewhere in the carribean? Beautiful work DOJ. Keep it up. Thank you.

Posted by: ArchieT. | August 28, 2008 10:37 PM

One has to wonder why Abramoff suddenly "got religion" and now the Jewish Press is shelping around the idea that he needs a shorter sentence. Funny the same thing happens when Israel is caught spying on the US - the same Jewish Press wants the poor spies to be cut a break. If Abramoff was not a well connected jew - this article would not be in the Post. Shame on the Post for shamelessly trying to get one of the chosen people out of a situation they created.

Posted by: Rhonda Bernstein | August 29, 2008 12:17 AM

Just put him in a camp.

Posted by: Joe Hitler | August 29, 2008 12:18 AM

I think he should be sent to a "pound you in the ass prison" rather than the country club he is in now. Then you would see Jack get some real religion.

Posted by: Donald K | August 29, 2008 12:21 AM

On an episode of Public Radio International's This American Life that aired in June 2006, journalist Jonathan Gold described Abramoff as a high school bully. "He was the sort of person who would walk across the street to be unpleasant to somebody," Gold says, going on to describe how Abramoff knocked him and his cello down a flight of stairs.[7] The episode was number 314, "It's Never Over".

Posted by: Jim Hamburgler | August 29, 2008 12:23 AM

Restaurant workers downtown felt a rush of schadenfreude at Abramoff's downfall--one of the most obnoxious customers ever.

Posted by: ocassiuso | August 29, 2008 10:57 AM


Posted by: MARK KLEIN, M.D. | August 29, 2008 4:27 PM

Get out of jail? Sorry about the impoverishment. It is something her husband is good at creating for himself and others.

I think if I were Jack, I would be looking for a US Marshal serving a warrant on the way out of the courthouse. There were other crimes........

Who was the bright crayon who let Jack counsel anyone on parenting?

Posted by: Annie | September 1, 2008 4:37 PM

He's probably afraid rather than humble. Documents show what a truly nasty bigot he is. And most of the charity he did was simply a way of employing friends, moving money, helping extremist causes, and flattering himself. It's nice that he's helped with the investigation, but that's the least he can do, given the extent of his corruption. And his cooperation gives him something interesting to do, which is more than most prisoners have. This guy should feel lucky to serve less than 20 years.

Posted by: jchaney | September 3, 2008 12:27 AM

Let him do his time. He may be even more remorseful after 6 years, and for the right reasons as well. Two years is far too little punishment for the naked hubris associated with his crimes. In the end, he may evolve to the point where he acts as a contributor and not a parasite and thief. The only lesson he has learned is that you can't make money inside a correctional institution unless you are selling narcotics on the outside or have another racket with loyal disciples willing to carry on.

Posted by: BobLT | September 3, 2008 9:03 PM


I remember Jacks parents as being very well off, having hung out with Arnold Palmer and his father having founding Diners Club credit card. Beverley Hills is not a poor mans neighborhood. The argument of early poverty does not ring true. I think the judge will consider all aspects of this plea for mercy and make his own decision. Whatever it is, it will have to be dealt with by the person who made all those mistakes before being caught.

Posted by: Wiser and Sadder | September 4, 2008 9:46 AM

There is a continuous reference to judaism when convenient; i.e. the religious hat and now the spiritual leader involvement. I am a Jewish person and am tired of wondering when the Jewish crooks will stop making the lives of all Jews subject to unwanted and undeserved anti-semitism. It's time for religious leaders to condemn and not praise men like him. There is no proof that like the Spinka money laundering; he could have donated money and received most of it back in cash. That is a far more likely scenario.

Posted by: me too | September 4, 2008 10:32 AM

Jack should die in prison. He wife should flip burgers for a living. His kids can go to PS innercitydump. If people can spend years in prison for drugs Jack can do decades for his corruption of the political system.

Posted by: Boils | September 4, 2008 10:56 AM

I don't believe in the death penatly, but I would make an exception for politicians, thieves and liars. He is a real criminal and if you think that he is humble I got a bridge to sell you. He truly deserves to be put to death.

Posted by: krusher kreel | September 4, 2008 11:09 AM

I don't believe in the death penatly, but I would make an exception for politicians, thieves and liars. He is a real criminal and if you think that he is humble I got a bridge to sell you. He truly deserves to be put to death.

Posted by: krusher kreel | September 4, 2008 11:09 AM

And in the role of Shylock: Jack Abramoff

You got your pound of flesh, dude. Maybe your wife should cook it to feed your 'starving; kids.

Posted by: weiji2001 | September 4, 2008 11:20 AM

Well, kudos to Jack Abramoff on his miraculous and uplifting spiritual journey. Such a wonderful event should be prolonged. Would an additional 20 years be appropriate?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 8, 2008 1:44 PM

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