ABC’S Jason Ryan Reports:
Disgraced Congressman Bob Ney (R-OH) pleaded guilty before Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle this morning to federal conspiracy and false statement charges.
When asked by the judge how he wished to plead, Ney, flanked by his two attorneys said, "I plead guilty your honor."
It took Judge Huvelle 9 minutes to read through all of the corrupt activites Ney engaged in from 2000 through 2004. She read to him from a signed factual proffer which covered his dealings with Jack Abramoff and others. This ranged from accepting lavish golf trips to Scotland and outings to New Orleans and Lake George, to accepting thousands of dollars of meals and drinks at Abramoff’s restaurant, Signatures.
Ney also accepted campaign contributions from Abramoff and tickets to Washington DC sporting events. He also inserted comments into the Congressional Record for Abramoff’s associates who were also involved in the conspiracy.
Ney’s corruption spanned beyond the Abramoff deals and also involved cash payments from a Syrian Businessman who bankrolled two gambling trips to London in 2003. The businessman was seeking to sell US aircraft and aircraft parts to Iran.
After receiving gambling chips and pocketing almost $47,000 from the trip.
Ney contacted the State Department to enquire about doing business in Iran for the businessman and getting the businessman a US visa.
In a paper statement released after the hearing Ney said, "While I have tried my best during my 12 years in Congress to serve the country in bipartisan ways, I have made mistakes of judgement…I allowed myself get too comfortable with the way things have been done in Washington for too long."
Ney’s statement also mentions his recent treatment for alcohol abuse. "I have more work to do to deal with my alcohol dependency."
Ney’s attorney Mark Tuohey said Ney would be resigning from Congress in a matter of weeks.