Abramoff pleads guilty
What a way to start the year. Oh, the Republicans have to be nervous because this guy is going to sing and rat everyone out.
From the New York Times
Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to three felony counts in Washington today as part of a settlement with federal prosecutors, ending an intense, months-long negotiation over whether the Republican lobbyist would testify against his former colleagues, people involved with the case said.I wonder if any Connecticut Congressmen had any dealings with Abramoff? Seems like we have two big Indian-owned casinos in Connecticut...
Mr. Abramoff, 46, is pleading guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion, setting the stage for prosecutors to begin using him as a cooperating witness against his former business and political colleagues. In exchange, Mr. Abramoff faces a maximum of about 10 years in prison in the Washington case.
After entering his guilty plea in United States District Court in Washington, Mr. Abramoff will also announce a plea agreement in a related Florida case, in which he was indicted last year. In that case, he is pleading guilty to fraud and conspiracy in connection with his purchase of the SunCruz casino boat line, and will face a maximum of about seven years' prison time.
Mr. Abramoff has been talking to investigators in the corruption case for many months, said participants in the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. They said he had provided a full picture of what evidence he could offer against other suspects.
Official Washington has been on edge for months awaiting word of Mr. Abramoff's legal future. Once a masterful Republican lobbyist with close ties to the former House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, he earned tens of millions of dollars representing Indian casino interests and farflung entities like the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. Through a complicated web of financial arrangements, he helped funnel donations to his lawmaker friends' and their campaigns, and took members of Congress, mainly the Republicans in power, on lavish trips.
Now, after more than two years of investigations, prosecutors have developed a list of at least a dozen lawmakers, congressional aides and lobbyists whose work appears suspect and who are now at the core of the case. With Mr. Abramoff's cooperation, the Justice Department will have a potentially critical witness to alleged patterns of corruption or bribery within the Republican leadership ranks, which in some cases they believe also took the form of campaign donations and free meals at Mr. Abramoff's downtown restaurant, Signatures.