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Rep. Bob Ney Agrees to Plead Guilty

September 15, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. Bob Ney agreed Friday to plead guilty to federal criminal charges he made false statements and conspired to commit fraud and violate federal lobbying laws in the congressional corruption probe spawned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney, R-Ohio, had defiantly denied the charges for months. Now he faces up to 10 years in prison. The Justice Department said prosecutors will recommend that he serve 27 months based on federal sentencing guidelines. Ney became the first lawmaker to admit wrongdoing in the election-year investigation.

Ney agreed to plead guilty to making false statements and conspiracy to commit ``wire and mail fraud,″ make false statements and violate post-employment restrictions for former congressional staff members.

Ney signed the plea agreement Wednesday, but it was not approved by the Justice Department or filed with the U.S. court until Friday.

Ney acknowledged accepting all-expense-paid and reduced-price trips to play golf in Scotland in August 2002, to gamble and vacation in New Orleans in May 2003 and to vacation in New York in August 2003. The total cost of all the trips exceeded $170,000, prosecutors said. Ney also admitted accepting meals and sports and concert tickets for himself and his staff.

In exchange for the improper gifts, Ney offered legislation on three occasions in 2002 to benefit Abramoff’s lobbying clients and helped another client win a multi-million-dollar government contract for wireless communications, court papers said.

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Associated Press reporter Ted Bridis contributed to this story.

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