Judge Skeptical of Sentencing Arguments for Abramoff Colleague

Posted September 20, 2011 at 5:41pm

Kevin Ring, a one-time colleague of ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, faces 46 to 57 months in prison for bribing public officials — a far cry from the 22-year sentence federal prosecutors initially requested.

In a memo released today, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle seemed to validate the argument made by Ring’s lawyers that the government sought an unduly long sentence in retaliation for Ring’s decision to stand trial instead of accepting a plea deal like the other defendants in the Abramoff investigation.

“It is easy to see why such an inference might be justified,” she wrote. “As Ring points out, the government now advocates for a Guidelines methodology that it has never asked for before (and that the Court has not previously employed) with respect to calculating the sentences of his co-conspirators.”

Ring, a former aide to ex-Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) who later became a lobbyist, was convicted last fall on five public corruption counts, including conspiracy, payment of an illegal gratuity and honest services wire fraud, after a mistrial in 2009. He will be sentenced Oct. 26.

In a filing earlier this month, prosecutors argued that Ring should face 17 to 22 years in prison — a range that vastly exceeds the time served by other defendants in the case — because he “is not entitled to the benefits, or leniency, enjoyed by his co-conspirators who stood in a very different position in 2005 to 2008 than he does in 2011.”

Abramoff was sentenced to prison for 48 months, while former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) was sentenced to 30 months.

Ring’s attorney, Andrew Wise of Miller & Chevalier, could not be reached for comment.