Two of Jack Abramoff's former tribal clients, whom the lobbyist defrauded of millions of dollars, have asked to address the court at his sentencing on Thursday.
In a notice filed with U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle today, prosecutors said seven to 10 representatives from both the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe and the Louisiana Coushatta Tribe plan to attend the Sept. 4 sentencing.
In his plea agreement, Abramoff agreed to more than $11 million in restitution to the Coushatta and $565,000 to the Chippewa. Prosecutors told Huvelle they contacted the fraud victims, “in anticipation of possible litigation over the amounts of restitution they may be owed,” to let them know they may be given an opportunity to address the judge at the hearing. However, there doesn’t appear to be any discrepancy in the restitution Abramoff agreed to and the claims submitted by the tribes, the notice says.
Because the tribes are not “persons” under the Victims Rights Act, they do not have a right to be heard. Huvelle must grant them permission.
At the sentencing Abramoff’s first public appearance since being imprisoned in 2006 for his fraudulent purchase of a cruise line in Florida the former lobbyist will accept punishment for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.
Abramoff faces more than a decade in prison under federal guidelines, but the government has asked Huvelle to cut his sentence down to five years and four months a 40 percent departure from the bottom range. The government is seeking $23 million in restitution.