Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The case against Kevin Ring, a former associate of Jack Abramoff, is a case well worth watching. Ring faces "a ten count indictment for [allegedly] paying illegal gratuities in violation of" section 201, honest services fraud under wire fraud and the honest services provision (sections 1343 and 1346), conspiracy, and obstruction under section 1512. Back in June, the district court denied a motion to dismiss when Ring had argued the lack of an "official act" element of the crime, that "the honest services wire fraud charges are invalid as a matter of law because the statute cannot be used to prosecute a private lobbyist who did not prevent a federal lawmaker's breach of congressional ethics rules," that the conspiracy count premised on other charges should therefore fall, and that there was a lack of nexus for the obstruction charges. Although the court did not dismiss the case on pre-trial, these arguments sent the message that this case was going to present some tough legal issues for the government.
But it sounds like the legal issues are not the only problems facing the government. See Joe Palazzolo, Main Justice, Case Against Ex-Abramoff Associate Hits Curves