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AP: Former Aide to Rep. Young Sentenced

A federal judge on Monday sentenced former House aide Mark Zachares, who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the investigation into disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, to 12 weekends in jail, the Associated Press reported.

Zachares, a former aide to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, pleaded guilty in 2007 to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle also sentenced Zachares to four years of probation, 200 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine, the AP reported.

Zachares could have been sentenced to years in prison, but his attorneys argued that the former House staffer deserved a lenient sentence because he aided federal investigators in their probe of two unnamed lawmakers, although neither was charged in the case.

Zachares participated in the now infamous August 2003 trip to visit Scotland’s St. Andrews golf course. Abramoff was sentenced in 2008 on corruption charges for trading luxuries such as golf junkets for political favors, and the Scotland trip was one of three that Abramoff took with lawmakers.

A House ethics committee said in 2007 that the golf trip — with luxury hotel accommodations and golf at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews — violated Congressional rules. It was paid for by a think tank connected to Abramoff.

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