A legal team for Kevin Ring, the member of “Team Abramoff” who the feds want to send to prison for two months longer than Jack Abramoff himself, is arguing that he doesn’t deserve to spend four years and two months in prison for giving tickets to a former Justice Department official and two Senate staffers.
“By any objective measure, Kevin Ring was a mid-level player in this scandal, and yet the government asked for him to receive the longest sentence of anyone,” his legal team writes in a court filing. “Its request is based on a distorted and unsubstantiated view of Mr. Ring’s actions, his comparative culpability, and his character.”
His lawyer also argues that the government’s credibility is diminished by “its decision not to charge a host of public officials and other lobbyists that it has consistently alleged were at the core of the scheme that it prosecuted twice against Mr. Ring.”
Former Rep. John Doolittle and his wife were named as an unindicted coconspirators in the trial against Ring. Prosecutors didn’t like an op-ed Doolittle wrote for the Daily Caller which they cited as an example of media coverage “generated by the public officials who received Ring’s bribes and illegal gratuities.”
Ring was found to have given tickets to his friend Robert E. Coughlin II, who was working as a deputy chief of staff in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, in hopes of securing a $16.3 million grant to build a jail in Mississippi for the Choctaw Indians, one of their clients.
Lawyers also argued that entertaining prospective clients and lawmakers is very commonplace.
“White the language ‘return on our investment’ may be crass, it is not the type of ‘in exchange for’ language that separates legal relationship-building from illegal bribery,” his lawyers write.
“Indeed, if every business person who entertained prospective clients or relevant lawmakers and hope for a ‘return on his investment’ were engaged in bribery, the Department of Justice would be even more overloaded than the government complains of in its brief,” they say.
Ring will be sentenced on Oct. 26.