Another prison sentence in Abramoff scandal

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The former Deputy Secretary of the Interior was sentenced today to ten months in prison as well as a $30,000 fine and community service for lying to a Senate committee about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

I posted earlier, when he entered his guilty plea in March, about how  J. Steven Griles met Abramoff through his girlfriend Italia Federici, who has entered into a plea agreement of her own and is due to be sentenced in September. Today we heard of one kind of benefit Abramoff received from the relationship.

During the filming of the motion picture “National Treasure” film crews, with their trailers and equipment, had set up on the grounds of the United States Navy Memorial next to Abramoff’s restaurant “Signatures” and were blocking the valet parking area abutting the restaurant. An angry Jack Abramoff called Griles, who contacted the Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service who had the Park Service direct the film crew to move. Abramoff boasted in an e-mail to a colleague, “I  . . . am all over their asses”.

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A tearful Griles addressed the judge before imposition of sentence saying “This has been the most difficult time in my life. My guilty plea here has brought me great shame and
embarrassment. I have lost my business, my income and, most
importantly, my reputation.”

WaPo story here.

Dana Milbank’s “Washington Sketch” is a good read.

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Courtartist is me, Art Lien. I've been sketching the courts since 1976, and for most of that time the U.S. Supreme Court has been my regular beat. I've been working almost exclusively for NBC News since 1980. Courtroom sketching is a form of visual journalism or reportage drawing that is slowly dying out. Where once upon a time news organization each had their own artist covering a story, today a "pool" artist often sketches for all. It is a demanding and stressful discipline where the drawing is often done directly and under tight deadline.

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