Saturday, February 18, 2006
The Washington Post reports here that Jack Abramoff, with government agreement, asked for more time before sentencing. Although sentencing was originally set for March 16th, the parties would like to delay the sentencing for no more than 90 days. This delay is a clear benefit to both sides.
For the government a delay provides additional time to secure information and more importantly check the information being provided by Abramoff. The government does not want to make a sentencing recommendation to the court until it can make certain that the information provided by this future witness is supported by other evidence. They need documents or testimony to corroborate what Abramoff states.
In some cases the government might like to delay a sentencing in the hopes that other nervous witnesses might contact the individual to dissuade that person from cooperating with the government. Attempting to keep a witness from providing this information to the government can sometimes be a way for the government to secure obstruction of justice charges against an individual. This is probably not likely here as everyone knows that Abramoff is cooperating.
For the defense, the longer the delay the more opportunity to talk. In Abramoff's case, the more information he can provide to the government, the more likely they will state to the court that the witness has cooperated in their investigation and therefore deserves a lesser sentence.