May 27, 2006
Former Aide to Rep. Jefferson Sentenced to 8 Years on Bribery Charge
Brett Pfeffer served as an aide to Louisiana Representative William Jefferson for three years in the late 1000s, and more recently was solicited for a bribe by his former boss in exchange for the Representative's assistance in obtaining contracts in Nigeria to provide broadband services. On May 25, he received a 96-month prison term after entering a guilty plea to conspiracy and aiding and abetting the solicitation of a bribe (DOJ press release here). Pfeffer was the first person to plead guilty in the government's probe of the Louisiana Congressman, which recently triggered a confrontation between Congress and the Department of Justice over an FBI search of Representative Jefferson's House Office (see earlier posts here and here).
Pfeffer is cooperating in the government's investigation, and he likely will be eligible for a Rule 35 motion for a reduction of sentence at a later point if he provides assistance to prosecutors. As it stands, this is a substantial term of imprisonment, and does not bode well for others who may be considering whether to accept a plea offer from the government. Pfeffer's sentence is two years greater than that received by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is cooperating in a separate -- and apparently much broader -- corruption investigation on Capitol Hill that has triggered pleas from aides to Representative Bob Ney and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Former Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham also received a 100-month sentence, and his corrupt activities have also spawned a growing investigation that may have ensnared the former No. 3 official at the CIA amid lurid accusations of poker parties that included discrete female entertainment.
Not surprisingly, the first one through the prosecutor's door may be receiving the best deal, but that plea bargain will include a not insubstantial term of imprisonment these days when the crime involves Congressional corruption. (ph)
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