Abramoff Friends

October 21, 2010

After four years, Jack Abramoff is now out of jail and living in a halfway house in Baltimore, MD. He has a job in a kosher pizza shop.  One indication is that he is easing back into the mainstream is his new Facebook page.

U.S. News reported about his Facebook page:
It lists six friends, including Floyd Brown, a GOP activist who runs the Web sites www.impeachobamacampaign.com and www.westernjournalism.com and who founded Citizens United, the group that helped to rewrite fundraising rules via a historic Supreme Court ruling in January that paved the way for corporate spending on campaigns this year.

While Abramoff hasn't yet returned our message to his Facebook page, Brown said it's his. "It is Jack, but I don't think he will be talking to the press anytime soon. He is just reconnecting with some friends from the old days that have expressed support during his difficult journey."

Another said it's possible that Abramoff may use Facebook in his comeback. "I think he has a number of plans moving into 2011, but I'm not sure how much or little they will involve FB."
Actually, I noticed the page before it was in the news.  At the time I found it, Abamoff had four friends. Guess who one of his FB friends is? None other than CNMI Governor Benigno Fitial. (Click bellow to enlarge):

Ring Retrial Begins

Team Abramoff lobbyists freely exchanged emails between themselves and their clients that would come back to bite them. Alex Gibney's Casino Jack and the United States of Money featured some of the most notorious emails exchanged between Abramoff and Scanlon proving that they intended to rip off Indian tribes.  Today in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, U.S. Prosecutor Nathaniel Edmonds opened Kevin Ring's retrial with incriminating emails that he probably wishes that he never wrote.

From The Washington Post:
Lobbyist Kevin Ring wrote that "the ethics thing is a real turn off" and that his team preferred working with "amoral pond scum" in one e-mail, and Prosecutor Nathaniel Edmonds told jurors that the comments were evidence of Ring's win-at-any-cost mentality. He said Ring showered officials with event tickets, fancy dinners and never-ending drinks to get policies and taxpayer expenditures in favor of his clients instead of for the public good.

Ring's defense lawyer countered that the Justice Department is trying to criminalize "obvious jokes," and that they offer no evidence his client broke the law.
A joke? I hope the jury finds that remark as offensive as I do.

Ring's attorney made more excuses for his client's unscrupulous acts:
Ring attorney Andrew Wise told jurors the case will confirm some of their worst impressions of how Washington works, but his client was just one of many lobbyists using an expense account to build relationships in a legal, if distasteful, system.

"In this country, money controls politics. Lobbyists have a ridiculous impact on public policy," Wise said. "The way our government works and the role of lobbyists on our government are not on trial here."
If any of the jurors are fed up with Washington politics with its special interest groups and lobbyists stealing our democracy, that line may backfire big time.

Prosecutor Nathaniel Edmonds didn't think the emails were a joke:
Edmonds argued Ring's e-mails showed he used the gifts to put officials "on retainer" so they would repay him later with favors. "There is no lobbyist exception for bribery and corruption," 
Ring is charged with conspiracy, fraud, and making an illegal gratuity.

Edmonds said, "Millions of dollars were spent to get these public servants a taste of the good life, a bit of Washington that only the rich and the famous get to see," Edmonds said. They did it so "the public officials would 'pay them back' for everything Team Abramoff gave them."

As I disclosed in previous posts, some of those emails are between Ring, Fitial, Tan and Abramoff concerning the CNMI.

See also:
Kevin Ring Indicted September 8, 2008
As Pedicted Boulanger Charged January 28, 2009
Boulanger Pleads Guilty January 30, 2009
Revealing Plea Agreement February 4, 2009
Abramoff Scandal Nets One MoreFebruary 20, 2009
Doolittle Next to Fall? February 27, 2009
Kevin Ring Case: Prosecutor Welch Out April 24, 2009
Ruling in Kevin Ring Case: Charges Stand June 26, 2009
Order on Motions in Kevin Ring Case July 1, 2009
Kevin Ring Exhibits: CNMI Connection Exposed Through E-mails August 13, 2009
Abramoff Scandal: Trail Leading to the CNMI August 25, 2009
Abramoff Scandal: Bigger Fish to Be Caught September 5, 2009
Kevin Ring Trial Has Begun -You won't hear about it from CNMI news sources... September 13, 2009
Kevin Ring Trial, Albaugh Testifies,"I knew I broke the law." September 17, 2009
Kevin Ring: Judge to Declare Mistrial October 15, 2009