Tales from the Trail

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.

OBAMA/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.”

Ex-House aide may plead in case tied to Abramoff scandal

A former Bush administration aide who was indicted on corruption charges tied to the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff may be about to cut a deal with prosecutors.

CRIME ABRAMOFFProsecutors filed a criminal information document on Thursday against Horace Cooper who worked at the Labor Department during the Bush administration and earlier as a legislative counsel to then-U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Armey. The filing, which is typically used in plea agreements, describes one misdemeanor count of falsely certifying that he did not receive gifts from a “prohibited source” while Cooper worked at the Labor Department.

Cooper’s lawyer, Ryan Malone, declined to comment but said a court hearing will be held next week in the case. Cooper had been charged in August with five counts, including conspiracy, concealing his actions, making false statements and obstruction of justice.

Ex-House Republican aide pleads not guilty to corruption charges

An aide to former House Majority Leader Richard Armey pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of receiving valuable sports and concert tickets as well as free meals in a corruption case related to disgraced U.S. lobbyist Jack Abramoff.Horace Cooper, through his lawyer, pleaded not guilty during a brief arraignment in U.S. District Court, and while he will have to surrender his passport, Cooper won’t have to post any bail and will still be able to travel around the country giving speeches.CRIME ABRAMOFFWearing a pink dress shirt, sport coat and slacks, Cooper hastily put on a necktie as he appeared before Judge John Facciola who informed him of his rights to a speedy trial and to counsel if he could not afford one.Cooper was indicted last month on five counts of conspiracy, making false statements, concealment and obstruction of justice from his time working with Armey as well as later at the Voice of America and the Labor Department.In one titillating detail in the indictment, Cooper complained to Abramoff that he was charged $141 at the lobbyist’s restaurant Signatures, saying “I think there may have been a little glitch at the restaurant.”Cooper’s attorney, white collar crime defense lawyer Sol Wisenberg, asked the court to permit his client to continue traveling throughout the United States without advance court approval so he can give speeches which is one of his current sources of income.  He said that Cooper was “not in any way a flight risk.”Facciola approved the request, but ordered that Cooper give a week’s advance notice of his travel plans.Click here for more Reuters political coverage.- Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria (Abramoff outside a Florida courthouse.)

Aide to former House Republican leader indicted in Abramoff case

An aide to former U.S. House Majority Leader Richard Armey was indicted on corruption charges in connection with disgraced U.S. lobbyist Jack Abramoff, including taking free sports tickets and helping  his clients with a government contract.

Horace Cooper, who served as a legislative counsel to Armey, was charged with conspiracy, concealing his actions, making false statements and obstruction of justice, according to the indictment filed in U.S. district court.

Prosecutors accused the legislative aide of receiving valuable tickets to events like Washington Redskins football games and concerts including rock singer Bruce Springsteen between 1998 and 2000, when Cooper worked for Armey.