Monday, March 27, 2006

Leniency Letters Offer New Abramoff View

WASHINGTON -- Fallen lobbyist Jack Abramoff may be persona non grata in official Washington, but plenty of his friends in the outside world are singing his praises in an effort to spare him prison time.

More than 260 people _ including rabbis, military officers, a professional hockey referee, a congressman and a U.S. territorial governor _ all wrote letters asking a federal judge for leniency when Abramoff is sentenced on fraud charges Wednesday in Florida.

Their letters, obtained by The Associated Press, put a new spin on the foibles and crimes of a man who became the face of Washington's latest corruption scandal.
Once nearly omnipresent on Capitol Hill, where he doled out political donations and lent his restaurant to lawmakers for fundraisers, Abramoff got just a single letter of support from a member of Congress _ his longtime friend Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

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