The breaking news on the Abramoff sentencing today is that Jack Abramoff has been sentenced to “five years and 10 months in prison for his role in the fraudulent purchase of a fleet of casino cruise ships” in Florida.
Abramoff received the minimum sentence allowed.
U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck sentenced Abramoff, 47, and his former partner, Adam R. Kidan, 41, to the shortest possible prison terms under sentencing guidelines in the case. In pleading for the minimum sentence, lawyers for each defendant laid most of the blame on the other for the scam, in which they faked a $23 million wire transfer to obtain financing for the 2000 purchase of SunCruz Casinos from an owner who was later shot to death in a gangland-style hit.
“As you can imagine, this day is incredibly painful for my family, my friends and me,” Abramoff told the judge. “In the past two years, I’ve started the process of becoming a new man.”
Abramoff still faces “nine-and-a-half to 11 years in prison as a result of his plea deal in the Washington corruption case, which essentially stems from his lobbying activities on behalf of Native American tribes.”
But Abramoff’s attorneys and federal prosecutors agreed that his eventual sentence from that case would run concurrently with the sentence handed down in Miami.
In pleading for the shortest sentence from Huck, Abramoff’s lawyers cited his cooperation with federal investigators.
Before the sentencing hearing today, “more than 260 people — including rabbis, military officers and even a professional hockey referee — wrote letters on the men’s behalf asking the judge for leniency.”
The letters, obtained by The Associated Press, put a new spin on the foibles and crimes of a man who became the face of Washington’s latest corruption scandal.