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Prosecutors: Abramoff pal gamed system

Sept. 12, 2009 at 11:06 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- An associate of disgraced U.S. lobbyist Jack Abramoff lavished lawmakers and public officials with fine meals and event tickets, prosecutors say.

Jurors in the case of Kevin Ring, 38, who went on trial Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, heard prosecutors call him "a sugar daddy, giving out the goodies to public officials over and over again," the Washington Post reported.

Ring, the second person charged in the Abramoff lobbying scandal to go to trial, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, fraud and obstruction of justice charges in connection with the Abramoff lobbying scandal, the newspaper said.

"He was a lobbyist in name but a corruptor in reality," Justice Department prosecutor Nathaniel Edmonds told jurors.

Edmonds contended e-mails sent by Ring showed he went well beyond legal limits in attempts to influence Washington power brokers, including giving them tickets to sold-out concerts by U2, Paul McCartney and the Dave Matthews Band.

But Ring's attorney, Andrew Wise, disputed those claims, saying: "Kevin Ring played by the rules of lobbying and government in a broken and sometimes ridiculous system."

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