Ex-House aide, Bush official pleads guilty to misdemeanor in Abramoff case
A former congressional aide and Bush administration official, Horace Cooper, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge in a case tied to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Cooper faces up to a year in prison.
Last year prosecutors accused Cooper of receiving valuable tickets to various sporting events and concerts from Abramoff’s firm when he worked for then-House of Representatives Majority Leader Richard Armey. He also was initially charged with helping Abramoff clients when he joined the Bush administration and again allegedly solicited gifts from the lobbyist.
Cooper, now a conservative political commentator, was charged with five felony counts including conspiracy, concealing his actions, making false statements and obstruction of justice. However, a judge last month threw out one of the charges and Cooper’s lawyers said that prosecutors offered to drop the remaining felony counts in exchange for him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsely certifying records.
In the plea agreement, Cooper admitted hiding the gifts from ethics officers and his supervisors when he worked in the Labor Department under the Bush administration. Under the plea agreement, he could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, according to the Justice Department. He will be sentenced on July 1.
“My family and I are so grateful that this ordeal is over,” Cooper said in a statement. “It will be so good to get this whole thing behind me.”
– Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing