Former Rep. Bob Ney Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison for His Abramoff Dealings

Jan 19, 2007 1:56pm

Ney will serve the 30-month sentence he received today in a prison in Morgantown, W.Va., where he will enroll in an alcohol abuse program. The West Virginia prison was chosen so Ney could be close to his family in Ohio. Ney came before the judge, expressed "deep regret" and apologized to his family, friends and constituents. Ney told the court, "I especially regret the pain this ordeal has caused my family. I hope and pray that with time and love, our family can recover from the damage I have done." Ney added that he hoped "to battle the demons of his addictions." Last year, Ney admitted he had alcohol and gambling addictions. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. The Department of Justice recommended a 27-month sentence, but Judge Ellen Huvelle recommended Ney receive the higher end of the punishment — 30 months — which both parties accepted. Huvelle increased the sentence because of Ney’s dealings with Abramoff and separate dealings Ney had with a foreign businessman in London. ABC News confirmed from Justice Department and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials that the businessman was Syrian. In his plea agreement, Ney admitted accepting more than $45,000 in gambling chips from the businessman. Ney also had one of his staffers carry $5,000 of the gambling chips through U.S. Customs. Not mentioned today, but in his guilty plea, Ney admitted to contacting the State Department to inquire about changing export codes to have U.S. aircraft parts sold to Iran. Ney paid $200 before leaving the courthouse today and must pay $6,000 over the next two years in addition to serving community service hours. Judge Huvelle denied Ney’s plea to expand the $6,000 payment over three years. Judge Huvelle said the 30 month sentence was appropriate because Ney’s "illegal conduct spanned a good number of years. … Four years is a long time." Huvelle added Ney’s conduct was a "significant and serious abuse of the public’s trust." On Ney’s alcohol and gambling problems, Huvelle said, "I don’t think that actually explains what happened." Also today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was asked at the National Press Club to explain why Ney has not been stripped of his congressional pension. She said there was "a real question" as to whether Congress would have the constitutional authority to take such action retroactively. Pelosi made her comments while delivering a "prebuttal" to President Bush’s State of the Union address.

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