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Doolittle Named as Co-Conspirator in Corruption Case

Federal prosecutors named ex-Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) as a co-conspirator Thursday in the public corruption case against former House aide-turned-lobbyist Kevin Ring.The government included Doolittle, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, on a list of 11 co-conspirators filed Thursday. Prosecutors indicated they intend to submit statements from those individuals during Ring’s trial, currently under way in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.Ring, a former aide to Doolittle and then-Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), is charged with violating federal laws, including bribery and conspiracy to commit fraud for providing gifts to public officials in exchange for official acts. He has denied wrongdoing.Ring was indicted as a result of the influence-peddling investigation of his former boss, disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.The government’s list of co-conspirators also included Doolittle’s wife, Julie Doolittle, as well as John Albaugh, chief of staff to then-Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) who pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud; Ann Copland, a former aide to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) who pleaded guilty in March to honest services wire fraud; Robert Coughlin, a former top Justice Department official who pleaded guilty in 2008 to violating conflict of interest laws; Will Heaton, chief of staff to then-Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) who pleaded guilty in February 2007 to a conspiracy charge; Laura Blackann, Doolittle’s former spokeswoman and wife of Trevor Blackann who pleaded guilty in November to filing a false tax return for not reporting more than $4,100 in gifts from lobbyists; Peter Evich, Doolittle’s former legislative director; Gregory Orlando, who also served as Doolittle’s legislative director; former White House aide Jennifer Farley; David Lopez, Doolittle’s former chief of staff and political adviser; and Ryan Thomas, a top appropriations aide to then-Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).