DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty, Provides Information on Ney

by TChris

This can't be good news for Tom DeLay.

A former top aide to Rep. Tom DeLay pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and promised to cooperate with a federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud that has so far netted three convictions and prompted calls for ethics reform in Congress.

Tony Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, admitted to conspiring with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff both while Rudy worked for DeLay and after he left the lawmaker's staff to become a lobbyist himself.

As a top aide to DeLay in his role as House majority leader, Rudy took payments from Abramoff in 2000, then helped stop an Internet gambling bill opposed by Abramoff's clients, according to court papers.

Rudy probably felt pressured to plead, given the government's apparent threat to indict his wife if he didn't.

As part of the deal, Rudy pleaded guilty to the single conspiracy count and prosecutors agreed not to pursue other possible charges against him or his wife.

Rudy apparently faces a sentencing guideline range of 24 to 30 months. He will likely receive a shorter sentence if he continues to cooperate with investigations of other officials. One Congressman in the spotlight: Bob Ney.

[W]hile working as a lobbyist, Rudy also was extensively involved in arranging a golf trip to Scotland for Rep. Bob Ney, described as Representative 1, and congressional staffers, the court papers said.

Update (TL): Talking Points Memo has Exhibit A to the plea agreement that contains the statement of facts to which Rudy has admitted.

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