Ring Trial Reveals Doolittle and Others Not Off the Hook

From left to right: Former Rep. John Doolittle (R-Abramoff) Kerrie Ring,  Kevin Ring and Julie Doolittle.

July 14, 2010

The U.S. filed a Bill of Particulars in the Kevin Ring case as was ordered by U.S. District Judge Ellen Huevelle on July 7, 2010:
Court’s Order of July 7, 2010 (Dkt.153).Paragraph 2 of Docket 153 requires the following:
On or before July 13, 2010, the government shall file a bill of particulars identifying which of the overt acts listed in Count I of the Retyped Indictment [Dkt. 112] are relevant to an alleged scheme to provide public officials with things of value in exchange for “official acts," as that term is defined in Jury Instruction No. 31 of the first trial [Dkt. 113]. The bill of particulars shall specify the identities of the public officials, things of value, and official acts at issue.
The order apparently was related to the recent Supreme Court ruling on honest services fraud.

Court documents list the officials who Ring allegedly bribed with tickets, meals, trips, and in the case of John Doolittle payments to his wife Julie.  The people listed include:

John Albaugh, former chief of staff to Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.);
John Doolittle, former Representative (R-CA);
David Lopez, Doolittle’s former chief of staff;
Peter Evich, Doolittle’s former legislative director;
Gregory Orlando, Doolittle’s former legislative director;
Laura Blackann, Doolittle’s former press secretary;
Neil Volz, former chief of staff to Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio);
William Heaton, former chief of staff for Ney
Jennifer Farley, former associate director for Bush White House’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs;
Robert Coughlin, former Deputy Chief of Staff in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division;
David Ayres, former chief of staff to Attorney General John Ashcroft

Alleged deals were made between Ring and the Congressmen, staffers and other U.S. officials named in the Bill of Particulars.  In exchange for trips, meals and tickets the officials allegedly secured project funding and appropriations earmarks in legislation, attempted to harm a victim of labor abuse (Carmencita Abad) by writing a letter to the INS; and introduced legislation favorable to Ring and Abramoff clients, including the CNMI.

Governor Fitial, Lt. Governor Eloy Inos and Willie Tan were actively involved in the deal making and exchange according to documents including email exchanges between the lobbyists and the CNMI.  In Alex Gibney's Abramoff documentary, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, former CNMI Representatives Alejo Mendiola (Rota) and Norman Palacios (Tinian) freely admitted that they switched their votes to elect Fitial as Speaker of the House in exchange for U.S. funded infrastructure projects for their islands of Rota and Saipan. In the film Fitial came across as guilty even though he declined to comment saying nervously, "I don't know about that." (Yeah, right.)

Here is what is listed in the Bill of Particulars for the self-pitying, unapologetic former Rep. John Doolittle, Governor Fitial's "friend" (should be co-conspirator):
• Assistance regarding the immigration status of Carmencita Abad, a vocal advocate for wage and labor reform in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, including sending a letter to INS (55);
• Assistance in obtaining appropriations for the CNMI, specifically, appropriations for Rota and Tinian harbors, ports, and airports, including speaking with other members of Congress (58, 59);
• Assistance regarding Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status, including the introduction of a bill regarding statehood (62, 63, 65), and chairing a hearing on Puerto Rico statehood (77,
• Assistance regarding the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, specifically, efforts to prevent legislation harmful to Ring’s and Abramoff’s client’s business interests, including signing a letter (66, 67), and meeting with Ring’s client (72);
• Assistance with an earmark for a Russian housing project, including meeting with Ring and Abramoff’s Russian clients (74);
• Assistance in obtaining appropriations for a CNMI water project, including meeting with other members of Congress (91);
• Assistance in obtaining an earmark for a jail grant for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, including speaking with other members of Congress and congressional staffers (95, 97, 98, 101);
• Assistance with a tribal-governance dispute within the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa/Meskwaki, including meeting with the client and signing a letter to the Department of Interior (125, 127);
• Assistance seeking tribal recognition for one of Ring’s clients, the Mashpee Wampanoag, including meeting with the client and signing a letter to the Department of Interior (132, 134);
• Assistance in inserting earmarks into various legislation which benefitted Ring’s and Abramoff’s clients (120, 121. 123).
Note that Doolittle talks about the projects in the above ad for his "friend," Ben Fitial who who claimed would "get things done."

Neil Volz provided, "Assistance in co-sponsoring “Made in the USA” legislation providing a benefit to garment manufacturers in the CNMI (137)." David Lopez, Peter Evich, and Robert Coughlin were also accused of being involved in bribes involving the CNMI.

The Judge set Kevin Ring's trial date for October 18, 2010.


Anonymous said...

When with the U.S. Attorney's Office deliver an indictment for Ben Fitial, Alejo Mendiola, and Norman Palacios? Public Corruption prosecution and conviction would have avoided the past fiasco of several years and more oppression of contract workers. That would have been change we could have believed in.

But when BenTan laughs and shirks any knowledge, he thumbs his nose and thinks he can get away. Like Teflon John Gotti, he will get his dues in time. When will Mark Zachares and Abramoff's testimony be unsealed and we see BenTan in an orange monkey suit?

How to stop trafficking? Shine the light on these cockroaches. See who are the shareholders and registered agents of these joints in Garapan.... follow the rodents up to Capital Hill.

Captain said...

Anon 6:44 Yes, I think that many are awaiting that day. If/when that time comes there will be dancing in the streets.
Then maybe most of these past/present recycled elected, and many of the illicit business will also fall and the NMI can start to progress and many of it, people will return.

Anonymous said...

What particular offense, exactly (not vague generalities like "corruption") do you think Benigno R. Fitial has committed that renders him subject to an indictment?

A prosecution must follow the evidence -- not wishful thinking or politically motivated animus.

Anonymous said...

Start with conspiracy

Anonymous said...

To do what? Become Speaker with the votes of the representatives from Rota and Tinian? Whose votes were "bought" in late 2003 by the promise of Abramoff-induced promises of federal aid to those municipalities?

This was undoubtedly looked at by the DoJ Criminal Division, Public Corruption Section. Beyond the legal and evidentiary shortcomings of such theories, such a conspiracy is well beyond the five-year statute of limitations.