Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Former Interior Deptartment Official Sentenced to Ten Months

Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior J. Steven Griles received a ten-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to obstructing a Senate committee investigation of former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff's activities.  Griles had requested a sentence of house arrest and community service, while the government recommended a double-nickel sentence: a ten-month term, divided into five months in prison and five months in a half-way house or home confinement.  But the judge sentenced Griles to the full ten months, expressing some displeasure at evasiveness by Griles and his attorneys about his conduct, according to an AP story (here).  Under federal Bureau of Prisons regulations, he will not receive the 15% good time reduction because the sentence is less than a year.  According to a Department of Justice press release (here) describing Griles' criminal conduct:

Griles admitted that he knowingly and willfully made material false and misleading statements when he testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Nov. 2, 2005. Specifically, he testified that “Mr. Abramoff is no different than any other lobbyist” and that, “there was no special relationship for Mr. Abramoff in my office. It never did exist.” Griles admitted that his false and misleading statements had the effect of influencing the committee’s findings. The committee concluded in a report that “given the paucity of evidence in the committee’s possession, the committee is unable to arrive at any definitive conclusions as to the veracity of Griles’ testimony on his relationship, and interaction, with Abramoff during all times relevant.”

The Abramoff investigation has resulted in twelve convictions, including one Congressman and a number of Capitol Hill staffers.  Griles is the highest-ranking member of the Executive Branch caught up in the investigation to this point. (ph)

Corruption, Sentencing | Permalink

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