Tuesday, January 3, 2006
No surprises in the Abramoff Plea today. The Information has three charges - conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax evasion. (See Information here- CNN) It is thirteen (13) pages, and includes a range of different activities.
Probably what everyone wants to know is - what names are mentioned in this Information; and is there any indication of who might be the next to fall; and will all the dominoes fall here?
In the conspiracy count (a section 371 charge) one finds mention of a "Wireless Company," "Staffer A," "Staffer B," and "Representative # 1." (I was taught if you have a #1 you need to have a #2, but I don't see #2 mentioned in this Information). The mail fraud count is not a "money or property" charge, but rather uses the "honest services" provision of 1346, and it mentions "Representative # 1." (If the Supreme Court one of these days finds section 1346 to be vague -- after all, what is honest services-- will Abramoff have waived his rights to contest this issue because he has plead guilty?) And the final charge, tax evasion, is premised on section 7201.
This being an Information, as opposed to an Indictment, allows the prosecution and defense to better control the possible sentence in this case. The Wall Street Journal reports here, that the sentence is ten(10) years, although the Washington Post notes here that it carries a sentence of thirty years (30), but the cooperation reduces it to ten (10) years. And the restitution to be paid in this case should certainly assist the government's deficit.
So far we have Adam Kiden pleading guilty, and also Scanlon, and now Jack Abramoff. The government's pattern is to get the lower levels talking and to move up the ladder. It reminds me of building a snowperson (called it a snowman back then). You keep rolling it across the ground and it picks up more snow until it gets very large. This is likely to be a VERY big snowperson.