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June 17, 2007


Awesome, Marcy! I'll come up for air from the docs soon and try to participate in the comments here as time allows.

Why can't the government simply get the "real scope of Abramoff's work with Griles" from Abramoff? Abramoff is still cooperating with the government, isn't he?

Does DOJ have access to the hoard of documents collected but not released by McCain? If not, why not?

Also, why does the government have to prove Griles profited personally in the sense of money in his pocket? Isn't it enough that gobs of money was laundered through non-profits to further causes for which he was a devoted acolyte? Aren't there real and potential personal benefits in that? How did he get his job at DOI anyway? Did his cooperation with Abramoff serve to ensure he'd get bigger and better jobs in the future? After all, power is the payoff for most political operatives -- money is just a means to that end.

Are we still in a time frame where disgusted citizens might be able to submit letters to the judge asking for maximum sentencing?

That bit about the non-profits is extremely disturbing. He could be spending his time drawing a paycheck as an executive and as a manager of a non-profit while collecting donations from some of his unindicted co-conspirators as a quid pro quo for his continued silence -- all the while "serving time" at home. That would be a complete miscarriage of justice.

Rayne - Yes. Sentencing set for June 26. Govt. is obligated to request a 10 month sentence with 5 in custody/5 home detention. Griles is asking for less. YOU can ask for more. Judge gets to decide and is not bound by the government's suggested sentence. Judge Ellen S. Huvelle is at the same court as Walton, Prettyman Courthouse in DC. She was formally a partner at Williams and Connoly and was the attorney for Leona Helmsley believe it or not. Should get any letter there asap though. I wonder who is writing letters for Griles? Heh heh.


The letters for Griles are in (haven't downloaded them yet, but they're on PACER). They include Gale NOrton, Samsonetti (one of the corrupt former DOJers with ties to Abramoff) and a bunch of lobbyists.

lemme see if I got this straight:

abramoff is a cooperating witness, and the government investigators haven't figured out how Griles benefited from helping Abramoff yet.

how is that possible ???

either the investigator is a fucking idiot, or mr abramoff needs to be sentenced as an uncooperative witness

there ain't no other solution

unless the abramoff investigation is actually a coverup of some crimes

if the investigation IS a coverup, then the investigator IS a fucking idiot

it's time mr abramoff started answering questions

IIRC, there is a handy murder charge we could file in Florida. I wonder how well a sentence of death would help mr abramoff remember

as to mr griles, I don't think any lieniency is deserved in his case, and we ain't done investigating this bastard's criminal liability yet

repuglican corruption, the gift that keeps giving ...

Ten months? Outrageous!!!!

As with Mr Libby, Mr Griles HAS OBSTRUCTED justitice and CONTINUES to do so with his non-cooperation. IMHO, the 10 months should serve as the carrot for his cooperation, and 30 months "unless and until you start singing" should be the stick!
All and sundry should be disbarred from EVER holding another Government job, after betraying the public trust. The Chinese take their crooked civil servants out to the stadium and shoot them.

There's a piece to this puzzle that has just fallen into place for me, and I hope to god that the right people are clued in.

In the DoJ's Sentencing Memorandum, included is a 2002 memo from Abramoff to Federici regarding an upcoming meeting between the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and Steve Griles. Abramoff wrote, "This is the one I have talked to about representation and giving to CREA. If Steve could mention both your name and mine to him it would be a big help. He can just say "we have mutual friends" or something if that is possible." Federici promises she'll pass it on. In the meantime, Abramoff contributed $1500 to the campaign fund of the Chief, Chad Smith. Six months later (1/2003), the CNO "officially" hired Team Abramoff, and paid them $120,000 for the next 11 months.

During 2003, the Cherokee elections took place. In addition, both a new constitution, and a constitutional amendment removing federal oversight were voted upon (May and July, 2003.) After the May election, a regional BIA administrator sent a letter to Smith questioning the validity of the election, as a portion of the tribe was not allowed to vote (known as the Freedmen.) Smith immediately contacted Griles, and demanded a meeting. He didn't contact Norton, the Secretary, he contacted Griles. Afterwards, Smith claimed that the BIA/Interior would approve the election and constitution, and lo and behold, Interior changed their position, although they apparently only approved the election, not the constitutional amendment passed a couple weeks later in late July.

The Freedmen and their attorney got word of Smith's intervention with Griles, and filed suit in federal court. However, at the time, there was no hard evidence, other than the Senate lobbying reports, of any connection between the Cherokee and Abramoff, and Griles and Abramoff, to prove any clear wrongdoing. Smith argued that he never had contact with Abramoff, that it was the corporate arm of the CNO which had hired Greenburg Traurig, and the Senate Indian Affairs docs which were released in 11/2005 had redacted the identity of the tribe (I'm still trying to find out whether it was in fact redacted in the Senate Finance report of 2006.)

Team Abramoff discussed in email in July 2003 the phone conference between Smith and Griles, information they had received from the Cherokee. This was also not made public until 2005. But now, with the inclusion of the unredacted Sept. 24, 2002 memo, that Smith had a professional relationship with Abramoff, and Abramoff had special access to Griles. When Smith asked Griles to therefore overturn the decision of a subordinate, despite the fact it would disenfranchise thousands of Cherokee voters, Griles complied. It's difficult not to believe that the special relationship between Griles and Abramoff was not a factor. So Griles' actions should be an additional factor in his sentencing.

Re: the Sept. 24th memo from Abramoff to Federici - It was in fact redacted in the Senate Finance Committee exhibits.

Very nice pickup MBW. I have at least a fair understanding of the criminal process from far to many years as a participant in it, and I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out the deal cut with Griles. Under the facts as publicly known, the only way a federal prosecutor even thinks about stipulating to the 10-5/5 sentencing is in return for a cooperation agreement. Maybe there is one that we don't know about, but it sure doesn't look that way. Looks so far like Fisher either tanked the deal or got played so bad she should be sent back to law school.

great work MTW & MBW; hopefully you have all this, but just in case.

re the 'CREA dinner' set of emails ref'd above (which are substantially redacted): unredacted copies of many of the same, or v. sim., docs from Bill Meyers' abandoned confirmation hearings to the 9th Circ. are available in scanned pdf.

And rather interesting. Norton and all her ass't secys were at Finley's house that night, including Craig Manson, the man who brought us Julie McDonald. Also, Norton claimed the dinner was worth $24 in her disclosure form (last page in linked pdf), which sure looks like it's skating along the edge of impropriety if, say, the dinner was worth $100 or more, or could have resulted in improper influence on DOI policy.

Given what we now know about the Abramoff/Griles/Wooldridge axis of corruption, on the one hand, and the DOJ abuses underway at the time, it does seem that the burden of proof now lies with those who'd assert that Griles' plea deal is on the up-and-up, and not just more cover-up.

I sure hope folks in the environmental and Indian legal communities are weighing in on Griles' sentencing. Squeeze him, but hard, is my take.

Pi, the link for the Finely dinner was slightly mangled during publication, but I was able to work it out (http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2006/1201/20061201_050742_meyers.pdf)/

I too love the $24 expensing - what did Finley feed them, pizza and beer? But the kicker was the box checked at the bottom:

The event will be a widely attended gathering and the source of the employee's free attendance is the sponsor of the event I have also determined that the attendance of the above named employee at this event be in thc interest of the Department because it will futher the Department's programs and operations.

Since when was a private dinner of 23 political appointees, lobbyists and corporate bigwigs considered as "widely attended gathering"?

It did remind me that Sansonetti was there - something to include on the post I'm working up on him and his Senate aspirations (as a replacement for Thomas in Wyoming.)

Funny you should mention China. I seem to remember a load of corruption in the previous administration having to do with China. While you're busy counting on your fingers and toes, try this on...>10. Know what that is? The number of luminaries from the previous administration that went to jail. Funny I didnt hear you complaining then.

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