20th Abramoff scandal conviction, over World Series trip
One of the last remaining cases from the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal that rocked the U.S. capital resulted in another conviction, this one over an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the first game of the 2003 World Series.
The Justice Department said it brought to 20 the number of lobbyists, lawmakers, congressional aides or federal government officials convicted as part of the influence-peddling scandal that helped Republicans lose control of Congress in 2006.
A jury convicted Fraser Verrusio, a former U.S. House of Representatives staff member, for conspiring and accepting an illegal gratuity and making false statements by failing to report his receipt of gifts from a lobbyist and the lobbyist’s client on his 2003 financial disclosure statement.
According to evidence and testimony at trial, Verrusio and another staff member accepted the trip to attend the baseball game from a lobbyist for an equipment rental company interested in adding amendments into the Federal Highway Bill.
Evidence showed one of the lobbyists who helped arrange for the trip worked with Abramoff and that the equipment rental company was a client at Abramoff’s lobbying firm.
At sentencing scheduled in May, Verrusio faces a maximum sentence of up to 12 years in prison.
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Carlos Barria (Ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff leaves the courthouse in Miami in this Aug. 18, 2005 file photo)