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Former Ney Aide Heaton Cops Plea

William Heaton, a former chief of staff to ex-Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy in the ongoing criminal investigation into the activities of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In conjunction with Ney, Heaton admitted to accepting trips, including an often-cited August 2002 trip to Scotland, as well as “numerous” meals and drinks and sporting and concert tickets in exchange for building support or opposition for legislation at Abramoff’s request, among other favors. He faces up to five years in prison, and fines of up to $250,000.

Heaton was promoted to Ney’s chief of staff in February 2002. At 23 years old, he was then one of the youngest chiefs of staff on Capitol Hill. He left the Congressional office in July 2006.

Ney will begin serving his 30 month sentence on March 1 at the Federal Correctional Institute in Morgantown, W.Va.

— Susan Davis

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