Sunday, September 25, 2005

News and notes

1. More Jack Abramoff news at the Herald. Jay Weaver reports here on Ohio Rep. Bob Ney's connection to the case: "Federal authorities want to know whether an obscure Ohio congressman improperly influenced negotiations in the $147 million SunCruz Casinos deal five years ago as a favor to a politically connected lobbyist and his business partner, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Rep. Bob Ney, a Republican better known for touting coal shippers in his district, thrust himself into the sensitive sale in March 2000 when he publicly trashed Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz owner Gus Boulis in Congress. Sources say investigators want to know whether Ney deliberately sought to handicap Boulis by highlighting his troubles with Florida authorities at a time when the magnate -- pressured by federal prosecutors -- was desperately trying to sell his gambling ships to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and New York businessman Adam Kidan."

2. WHOOPS! In the well-publicized drug prosecution of Evintz Brillant, the government's star witness picked out Justice Department attorney Thomas Pinder when asked to identify the defendant. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Weinstein quickly recovered and asked the witness to stand up and look around the courtroom for Brillant. ''I made a mistake,'' he said. "He's sitting right there, wearing a blue shirt.''

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