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Abramoff Says He’s Not A Bad Man; Federal Judge Seems To Agree

A federal district judge this afternoon sentenced one-time super lobbyist Jack Abramoff to four years in federal prison for public corruption. The sentence is to be served at the same time as Abramoff’s current 5-year, 10-month incarceration for unrelated shady dealings involving a Florida casino cruise line. In other words, Abramoff will be spending no additional prison time for a public bribery scandal that rocked Washington and helped the Democrats take control of Congress

Abramoff wrote to Judge Ellen C. Huvelle yesterday, “I’m not a bad man (although to read all the news articles one would think I was Osama Bin Laden).” Abramoff admitted to deceiving clients and taking advantage of public officials.

The Justice Dept. has, more or less, taken Abramoff’s side. Federal prosecutors say that despite his many misdeeds — including defrauding Native American tribes and sending lawmakers on luxurious vacations so they would ease Northern Marianas Islands labor regulations — Abramoff has assisted other federal investigations. He helped build the case that put former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) in jail and also revealed details of his dealings with Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the former House majority leader.

Abramoff was contrite at his sentencing today. “I came before you today as a broken man,” he said, “I’ve fallen into an abyss, your honor, and I don’t quite know how to get out.”

The cruise line-related prison time started in January 2006. So Abramoff might find his way out of prison — if not the abyss — by November 2011.

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