A lawyer for Kevin Ring, a congressional staffer turned lobbyist caught up in the Jack Abramoff scandal, is arguing he should stay out of jail and get five years probation for his conviction in a scheme to corrupt public officials by providing a stream of gifts.
Prosecutors had been seeking an extremely harsh sentence of 17 years for Ring, but Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled that a range of 46 to 57 months would be more appropriate. He’s set to be sentenced on Oct. 26.
“While we recognize that such a sentence may appear lenient at first blush, a comprehensive review demonstrates that such a sentence is not only comparatively fair, it is reasonable and proper in consideration of Mr. Ring’s circumstances, the nature of his individual actions, and the significant sanctions this unique prosecution has already visited upon him and his family,” Andrew T. Wise argues.
“While the offenses of conviction are serious in nature, Mr. Ring’s role in those offenses was comparatively minor and the circumstances of his conduct are less blameworthy than other, more egregious public corruption offenses,” he writes. “And Mr. Ring’s personal history and actions, especially during the seven years since the events that led to his indictment, demonstrate a depth and sincerity of character diametrically opposed to the caricature of the man presented through two trials.”
Ring also wrote a 12-page letter to the judge asking for leniency, writing that the “toll has been great,” but that he has “kept the two most important things that I had within my control: the opportunity to love and be loved by my two daughters, and my integrity.”
His lawyer writes that Ring, as “a man who came to Washington, D.C. from modest means and who worked to put himself through school,” was “admittedly swept away by access to an unlimited expense account and limitless tickets to the hottest events.”
“As letters make clear, Mr. Ring enjoyed the perks of his job, and as trial testimony demonstrated, he willingly shared those perks with friends, including many whom he was simultaneously lobbying on client issues,” Wise writes. “Mr. Ring steadfastly denies that he intended to offer and provide those tickets and meals as bribes, but he has never denied that he said ‘yes’ when asked and sought to maximize the advantages those perks gave him.”
A total of 95 friends, family members and past and present co-workers wrote the judge in support of Ring, including Julie Stewart, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, who called Ring’s thinking “instrumental in helping FAMM win reforms to crack cocaine laws last year.”
That’s a stark contrast from the man DOJ portrayed as a “callous, greedy, and self-entitled lobbyist” (in the words of his lawyer) who was only interested in money and joked about corrupting public officials by saying, “Hello quid, where’s the pro quo.”
Ring writes that he deeply regrets that his emails “contributed to a cynicism about how federal officials operate,” especially because it was “a cynicism I do not share.”
The filing and the letters are embedded below.
[Correction: TPM originally incorrectly reported the number of letters Ring submitted. The total was 95, not 73.]