The Frayed Nerves in Washington...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Frayed Nerves in Washington...

will not be soothed by this development.
Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to three felony counts in Washington on Wednesday as part of a settlement with federal prosecutors, ending an intense, months-long negotiation over whether the Republican lobbyist would testify against his former colleagues, people involved with the case said.

Mr. Abramoff, 46, is pleading guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion, setting the stage for prosecutors to begin using him as a cooperating witness against his former business and political colleagues. In exchange, Mr. Abramoff faces a maximum of about 10 years in prison in the Washington case.
Now, after more than two years of investigations, prosecutors have developed a list of at least a dozen lawmakers, congressional aides and lobbyists whose work appears suspect and who are now at the core of the case. With Mr. Abramoff's cooperation, the Justice Department will have a potentially critical witness to alleged patterns of corruption or bribery within the Republican leadership ranks, which in some cases they believe also took the form of campaign donations and free meals at Mr. Abramoff's downtown restaurant, Signatures.

Already, prosecutors have a key witness in Michael Scanlon, once press secretary to Mr. DeLay. Mr. Scanlon reached a plea agreement last year, putting pressure on Mr. Abramoff to reach his own deal. Now that Mr. Abramoff has done the same, one person involved in the case said: "When some people hear about this, they will clamor to cut a deal of their own."
There is an AP story in Forbes that reports that as many as 20 lawmakers could be indicted in Abramoff-related crimes.

By the way, if you didn't catch it last week, Signatures is soliciting suggestions for a new name on their website.

Update: Abramoff's indictments(PDF).

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