Former staffer got Ney on tape

Aug. 11, 2007 at 9:16 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. prosecutors have asked a judge in Washington for a light sentence for a former congressional staffer who helped convict former U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio.

Will Heaton, who pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy, is scheduled to be sentenced next week. He served as a government informant, taping conversations that prosecutors say were crucial to making a case against Ney, NBC reports.

Ney is serving a 30-month prison term after admitting he accepted lavish gifts and trips from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is said to be cooperating with federal investigators while he serves a prison term on corruption charges.

"Mr. Heaton's cooperation with the government was difficult, extensive, and crucial in the prosecution of (Ney)," prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle.

Both Heaton’s lawyers and prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence him to home confinement. In his letter to the judge, Heaton said there is “no excuse” for his actions before he became an informant.

Heaton currently works as a landscaper.

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