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National Briefing / WASHINGTON, D.C.

U.S. seeks early release for lobbyist Abramoff

August 28, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

The Justice Department recommended a dramatic reduction in the prison sentence of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who became the key witness against lawmakers and congressional aides whom he spent years corruptly influencing.

Prosecutors cited his work in an FBI investigation that sent numerous powerful people to prison, including former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles. The scandal also contributed to the Republicans' losses in Congress.

In 2006, Abramoff began serving nearly six years for a fraudulent Florida casino deal. He faces 11 more years when he is sentenced next week for influencing lawmakers with meals, golf trips and other gifts.

The prosecutors asked that the Florida sentence be reduced to less than four years and that the Washington sentence be cut to five years, four months. That means Abramoff could be eligible for release in 2011.

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