Ohio congressman pleads guilty in Abramoff scandal

[JURIST] US Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) [official website] on Friday pleaded guilty [plea agreement, PDF] to charges of conspiracy and making false statements in connection with his involvement with lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive]. Ney accepted money and gifts [JURIST report] in exchange for taking actions on behalf of Abramoff and his clients, sixteen of which were admitted by his former chief of staff Neil Volz [Wikipedia profile], who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in May. Although several people have been convicted in the scandal, including Abramoff, ex-White House head of procurement David Safavian, and former Tom DeLay aide Tony Rudy [JURIST reports], Ney's plea marks the first time a congressman has pleaded guilty or been found guilty in the scandal. Several other members of Congress, however, are currently under investigation [JURIST report].

Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle [official profile], sitting on the US District Court for District of Columbia, said prosecutors, who could recommend a sentence for up to ten years, have called for 27 months' imprisonment. Ney also faces $5,000 to $60,000 in fines when he is sentenced on January 19. Ney has asserted that he will resign before sentencing, but his term expires on January 3 since he did not seek re-election. AP has more.

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