A lawyer for a former congressional staffer convicted on corruption charges in the Jack Abramoff scandal tried today to convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn the verdict.
Fraser Verrusio, former policy director for the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, was charged with accepting a free trip to New York City organized by lobbyists with the understanding he would help the lobbyists' client with legislation. Verrusio, who denied wrongdoing, was convicted at trial in 2011.
Verrusio's appeal is a remnant of the U.S. Department of Justice's broad corruption probe surrounding disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Verrusio claimed the government failed to prove its case. He is also challenging a constitutional protection that shields members of Congress and their staff from providing information to prosecutors and defense lawyers about legislative activities. Verrusio, in his case, sought trial testimony from a former Hill staffer.