U.S. Suggests Cutting Abramoff Sentence

The Associated Press
Thursday, March 22, 2007; 1:18 PM

MIAMI -- Federal prosecutors took the first steps toward reducing the prison sentence of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, currently scheduled for release in 2011 for a Florida fraud conviction.

Documents filed in federal court say Abramoff has provided "substantial assistance" in a separate Washington corruption scandal investigation and continues to work with investigators from his prison cell in Cumberland, Md.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul F. Schwartz did not recommend how much Abramoff's sentence should be cut.

In the court papers filed Wednesday, Schwartz said prosecutors would recommend a reduction in his sentence and would file further documents describing the "nature, extent and value" of his cooperation.

Abramoff, once a powerful Washington lobbyist, and ex-partner Adam Kidan were sentenced in Florida last March to nearly six years in prison for concocting a fake $20 million wire transfer during their 2000 purchase of the Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet.

The bogus transfer enabled the pair to get $60 million in financing for the deal.

Abramoff also has pleaded guilty to three federal charges arising from the Washington corruption probe. He has yet to been sentenced in that case.

Neal Sonnett, Abramoff's attorney in Miami, declined to comment Thursday other than to say that his client was continuing to cooperate with investigators.

© 2007 The Associated Press