A federal judge rebuffed the Justice Department’s attempt to send Kevin Ring, the lobbyist affiliated with Jack Abramoff convicted of bribing public officials, to jail for 17 years, ruling federal prosecutors can’t punish him for fighting the charges against him at trial.
Instead of the 17-22 year sentence the government wanted to impose, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ruled that Ring will face 46 to 57 months in jail when he’s sentenced on Oct. 26.
Ring was convicted of treating public officials to meals and tickets in exchange for political favors. Huvelle wrote that it was “easy to see why” Ring’s attorneys had inferred that federal prosecutors were retaliating against Ring for going to trial.
“The notion that an ostensibly objective system of sentencing guidelines can produce such wildly varying results for essentially the same offense conduct is deeply troubling,” Huvelle wrote.
Huvelle also disagreed that what Ring’s lawyers called his “comprehensive cooperation” with prosecutors over a 13 month period entitled him to an acceptance of responsibility sentencing reduction despite his failure to accept responsibility.
“Ring did not end his cooperation and proceed to trial ‘to make a “constitutional challenge’ to the honest services fraud or illegal-gratuities statute, or to admit the essential elements of his conduct, but ‘challenge the applicability’ of these statutes to his conduct,” Huvelle wrote.
Huvelle’s opinion is embedded below. She also included a handy chart mapping out the sentences imposed on the other figures in the Abramoff scandal: