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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Senator's ex-aide pleads guilty

March 11, 2009

A former longtime aide to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) pleaded guilty to swapping legislative favors for event tickets and other gifts from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's firm.

Ann Copland, 52, wiped away tears as she admitted to U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts that she took $25,000 to $30,000 in gifts for helping one of Abramoff's top clients, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

She was released pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

Copland is the latest among more than a dozen congressional aides, lobbyists, lawmakers and Bush administration officials convicted in a lobbying scandal spawned by Abramoff, who is serving a four-year prison term.

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