The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct yesterday cleared the way for a possible vote next week on expelling Rep. Michael (Ozzie) Myers (D-Pa.) from Congress for conviction of taking a bribe from undercover FBI agents in the Abscam investigation.
The ethics panel agreed with the verdict of a trial jury in Brooklyn last month that Myers was guilty of violating federal bribery and conspiracy law. A hearing to consider punishment was scheduled for next Wednesday in an effort to resolve Myers' case before the House adjourns Oct. 4.
Special counsel E. Barrett Prettyman Jr. said yesterday he "almost certainly" will recommend a penalty, which can range from a reprimand to expulsion, to the committee. though Prettyman wouldn't say what he would suggest, one committee member said the counsel already "has talked about expulsion."
The House has the final say on whatever penalty the committee recommends.
In voting for the sanction hearing yesterday, the committee also rejected a motion by Myers' attorney, Plato Cacheris, that action be delayed until the trial judge in Brooklyn determines whether the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors violated Myers' due process rights.
Myers, a 37-year-old former longshoreman from South Philadelphia, was convicted of accepting $50,000 in cash from an FBI agent posing as the representative of a fictitious Arab sheik after he had promised to introduce an immigration bill to aid the foreigner.