Friday, March 23, 2007

Former administration official pleads guilty

Another official goes down in the Abramoff scandal.

Former Deputy Interior Secretary J. Steven Griles pleaded guilty Friday to obstruction of justice, becoming the ninth person and the highest-ranking Bush administration official convicted in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The former No. 2 official in the Interior Department admitted in federal court that he lied to Senate investigators about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Abramoff, who repeatedly sought Griles' intervention at the agency on behalf of Abramoff's Indian tribal clients.

Griles pleaded guilty to a felony charge for testifying falsely before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Nov. 2, 2005, and during an earlier deposition with the panel's investigators on October 20, 2005.

Lying to Congress: not a good idea.

As part of the plea deal, Griles probably gets a 10-month sentence and prosecutors dropped allegations that he improperly helped Abramoff or personally benefited from the relationship.

The underlying charge is relatively minor -- he denied he had an unusually close relationship with Abramoff, even though they had been introduced by his girlfriend. As often happens, the cover up is worse than the crime. Nonetheless, he qualifies for the Hall of Shame.

June 26 update: Griles draws 10 months in prison and a $30,000 fine.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

These witch hunts are getting so ridiculous. So, prosecutors dropped earlier allegations that Griles did anything improper to help Abramoff or gained anything of value from the former Republican lobbyist. AND the agreement does not require Griles to help investigators with their grand jury probe. So, basically he did NOTHING but lie about exactly how well he knew Abramoff.

This is a PERFECT example of why one should fight having to testify "under oath" before a Committee in Congress.

He was in a position where he probably thought that if he told them how well he really knew Abramoff, they'd naturally assume he did something wrong. And now he's going to serve 10 months for it.


3/23/2007 6:34 PM  

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