Obituaries

Raymond F. Lederer, 70; Ex-Rep. Jailed in Abscam

Raymond F. Lederer (D-Pa.) was convicted of taking a bribe in an FBI probe.
Raymond F. Lederer (D-Pa.) was convicted of taking a bribe in an FBI probe. (1980 Photo By John Duricka -- Associated Press)
Associated Press
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Raymond F. Lederer, 70, a Pennsylvania Democrat who resigned his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and was imprisoned for taking a bribe in the FBI's Abscam investigation, died of lung cancer Dec. 1 at his home in Philadelphia.

In all, six House members and one senator, Democrat Harrison A. Williams Jr. of New Jersey, were convicted in the Abscam sting.

Mr. Lederer, who was first elected to Congress in 1976, was videotaped Sept. 11, 1979, at a New York motel accepting $50,000 in cash from two FBI agents who were posing as representatives of a fictitious Arab sheik.

Mr. Lederer told the agents, "I can give you me" in return for the money, which was shared with several co-defendants. His attorney said his client had been entrapped, but Mr. Lederer was convicted in 1981 of conspiracy, bribery and other counts and served 10 months in prison.

He had been reelected in 1980 while under indictment but was convicted in January 1981. He resigned his seat that April, the day after the House ethics committee voted to expel him.

Raymond Francis Lederer was a Philadelphia native and director of the Philadelphia Probation Department before winning election to the state House in 1974. The same seat had been held by his father and older brother and, more recently, was held by his sister-in-law.

After prison, Mr. Lederer went on to work as a roofer, helping to deliver supplies to job sites.

Besides Mr. Lederer and Williams, the others convicted in Abscam were Reps. John Jenrette (D-S.C.), Richard Kelly (R-Fla.), Michael Myers (D-Pa.), John M. Murphy (D-N.Y.) and Frank Thompson Jr. (D-N.J.).

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Mr. Lederer is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Eileen Coyle; six children; four brothers; and 15 grandchildren.


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