Ex-Senate aide charged in Abramoff scandal

Feb. 21, 2009 at 12:24 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- A former aide to Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran has been charged with accepting more than $25,000 worth of gifts from a now-convicted lobbyist.

Ann Copland, 52, was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with one count of conspiracy to commit honest-services fraud for accepting meals and event tickets from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

Copland, who worked for Cochran for 29 years until last year, is accused of using her position to try to persuade members of the legislative and executive branches to take actions, including "inserting, protecting, removing" items in spending bills.

In e-mails between Copland and the Abramoff team, the discussion of event tickets often accompanied requests for official action or information on legislation.

The newspaper said that in 2002, Copland requested tickets to Paul McCartney and Green Day concerts and Washington Capitals games. She also asked for tickets to the circus.

"I'm only interested in the floor for that event," she wrote to the lobbying firm. The newspaper reported that Abramoff said on March 11, 2002: "She'll get everything she wants."

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