4 years later, ex-House aide faces sentencing in Abramoff scandal

January 12, 2010

More than four years after agreeing to plead guilty in the Abramoff political lobbying scandal that rocked Washington, D.C., the press secretary for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will learn late this summer how much time in prison he will face.


Michael Scanlon, who left DeLay to work with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty in November 2005 to one count of conspiracy in defrauding Indian tribes of millions of dollars and lavishing gifts upon a member of the U.S. Congress.

He could be required to pay as much as $19.7 million in restitution to the tribes, a $250,000 fine and could face up to five years in prison.

Scanlon’s sentencing has been repeatedly put off while he cooperated with investigators and prosecutors as they probed the wide-ranging activities of Abramoff and others.  Abramoff was sentenced in 2008 to four years in prison for the corruption scandal and was already serving six years in prison for unrelated charges.

In court papers filed on Tuesday, the Justice Department and Scanlon asked the court to set his sentencing date for August 2010 after the Supreme Court is expected to rule on challenges to the so-called honest services laws that underpinned the case against him.

“Mr. Scanlon believes that how the Supreme Court decides the honest-services fraud cases might impact calculation of both the loss amount to be determined under the sentencing guidelines and the restitution amount to be ordered by this court,” a joint filing with the court said. The Justice Department will file in the coming months its sentencing recommendation.

Politico last month speculated that with Scanlon’s sentencing, that could wrap up the Justice Department’s investigation into Abramoff, though some individual cases are still pending.

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– Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (Abramoff leaves a Miami courthouse in 2006.)

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