From Staff Reports and News Services
Friday, December 16, 2005
A former business partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in Miami yesterday to fraud and conspiracy in the purchase of a fleet of gambling boats and agreed to cooperate in a congressional influence-peddling investigation.
Adam Kidan's agreement to provide evidence against Abramoff makes him the second partner of the fallen lobbyist to agree to cooperate in the investigation, which also includes congressional aides and Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio).
Kidan, 41, is prepared to testify against Abramoff and Ney, said Kidan's attorney, Joseph Conway.
Kidan pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy and fraud. He faces 10 years in prison.
Abramoff and Kidan were indicted in August for allegedly faking a wire transfer to make it appear they were putting $23 million of their own money into a $147.5 million deal with SunCruz Casinos. Two lenders agreed to provide $60 million in financing for the SunCruz purchase based on that false wire transfer, prosecutors said.
Abramoff, who has blamed Kidan in court papers, is scheduled to go on trial Jan. 9. Abramoff's attorney, Neal Sonnett, said of Kidan's plea, "We'll have to see what impact it has, if any."
Abramoff is also being investigated in Washington on suspicion of bribing government officials and lawmakers and defrauding tribal clients, according to court filings.
Another former Abramoff associate, Michael Scanlon, has agreed to cooperate in the SunCruz case as part of a plea agreement in the Washington matter.