Ex-Senate Aide Sentenced in Abramoff Case

Posted January 5, 2011 at 1:44pm

A federal judged sentenced former Senate aide Ann Copland on Wednesday to 75 days in a halfway house and 75 of home detention for her role in lobbying scandal centered on disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the Associated Press reported.

Copland, a former aide to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), pleaded guilty in March 2009 to conspiracy to commit fraud, acknowledging she accepted more than $25,000 in gifts including tickets to sporting events and concerts from Abramoff and his associates.

Copland left Capitol Hill in 2008 to join Mississippi Public Broadcasting, but subsequently resigned that post.

The Associated Press reported that U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts said Copland “had corrupted the public trust” and said her sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.

At her 2009 court appearance, Copland admitted to exchanging official activities, including designating appropriations earmarks, for tickets to events such as baseball and football games, ice skating competitions and concerts.

According to the Justice Department, 19 individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted in connection to the Abramoff investigation. In addition, former House aide Fraser Verrusio was indicted on related charges in March 2009, but he is challenging the accusations in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Abramoff served three and a half years in prison and was released from a Baltimore halfway house in December.