Jack Abramoff Sentencing Wednesday: Lawyers Say He's Broke

Jack Abramoff faces sentencing tomorrow in federal court in Miami for his admitted fraud in the purchase of the Sun Cruz Casinos. 260 letters, some from prominent persons, including Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, have written letters on his behalf. The list of letter-writers is here (pdf.)

The letters, along with the filing by the defense in Miami, sought to portray Mr. Abramoff as a man devoted to his family and to his faith who, while acknowledging that he defrauded Indian tribes and other clients of millions of dollars, deserved leniency because so much of his money had been given to charity.

"Media attention regarding Mr. Abramoff, from newspaper editors to late-night comedy monologues, has made him into a caricature and has distorted a lifetime of accomplishments," the defense lawyers said in their brief. "As large a figure as he has been painted in the media, he is an even larger figure in matters of family, faith, generosity and remorse."

The Miami Herald has details of the biography his lawyers have written for him. If you want to see great, creative lawyering, read the defense sentencing memo (pdf.)

In a footnote, they add:

In his overly determined pursuit of helping people and charities, Mr. Abramoff spent virtually all of the funds he earned in his various business dealings. He has no real assets beyond their home and its contents. Determined to help others, and confident that he could always earn more money if needed, he ignored the guidance of his financial advisors and accountants who repeatedly warned him that he needed to put funds aside into personal savings. Now, Mr. Abramoff is broke. He is tormented daily that his wife will not be able to support the large family on her own and chagrined that, instead of being a provider and source of aid for his community, he will now see his own family needing financial assistance.

The memo also takes a stab at George Clooney's father for his comments about Abramoff at the Golden Globes. The section on Abramoff's children is an example of what I mean by creative, great lawyering. Read pages 44-45.

So is this footnote on page 52:

One interesting note is that for the type of offense Mr. Abramoff has committed, various countries never incarcerate a defendant and often take age into account in deciding who should use precious penal resources. As Justice Kennedy observed: "In countries such as England, Italy, France and Germany, the incarceration rate is about 1 in 1,000 persons. In the United States it is about 1 in 143. . . . Our resources are misspent, our punishments too severe, our sentences too long." [See here (Aug. 14, 2003).]

Abramoff's lawyers ask for a sentence at the bottom of the guidelines, 7 years. But, as they point out, after his cooperation in the Washington case is over, they expect to get a sentence reduction. They detail his "extraordinary" cooperation towards the end of the brief.

Government counsel now and over time will be able to explain best to the Court how Mr. Abramoff's expeditious acceptance of responsibility and cooperation have assisted their efforts. The literally hundreds of hours he has spent, the hundreds of thousands of documents he has reviewed, and the dozens of topics he has been assisting with in themselves would merit a sentence at the bottom of the stipulated range. Indeed, that extraordinary acceptance of responsibility is often the only factor a Court needs to impose that type of sentence. Such consideration promotes individuals under investigation to come forward early to save law enforcement time and limited resources.

Bottom line: The 7 or so year sentence he gets tomorrow won't be the final sentence. I'd be shocked if Abramoff ends up doing more than 3 to 4 years in jail.

He won't be going to jail tomorrow, as the feds need him to continue cooperating in the Washington lobbying-corruption investigation.

Other documents:

Prior TalkLeft posts on Abramoff's guilty pleas:

Update: Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged does a little debunking of some of the claims.

  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft