By Mike Scarcella
Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the one-time influential power broker whose bribes and swindles ended the careers of more than a dozen people, was sentenced today to four years in prison for fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials.
He faced 11 years in prison under the federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors, citing Abramoff's cooperation in an ongoing FBI influence-peddling investigation, had recommended a sentence of five years and four months, with credit for the nearly two years Abramoff already has served in prison for a fraudulent business deal in Florida. His lawyers had asked for even less.
Abramoff, addressing Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in prison-issued khaki shirt and pants, pleaded for leniency. "I come before you a broken man," he said.
Huvelle said she was departing from the guidelines because of his cooperation -- he spent thousands of hours with investigators and reviewed more than half a million documents, his lawyers have said -- but the judge refused to credit him the two years he has served in the Florida case. Huvelle said Abramoff had undermined the public's confidence in government.