The claims behind Big Jack the Flack Abramoff's sentence

Thursday, March 30, 2006 at 03:42 PM

So Big Jack the Flack Abramoff got the minimum sentence of 5 years and 10 months in Florida.  I wonder why.  Is it because he's such a nice guy that his goodness far outweighed his badness?  Sadly, that may be just what the Judge thought.

Raw Story has a link to the PDF of the Pre-sentencing Memorandum that Jack Abramoff's defense team submitted in hopes of mitigating his sentence.

These things are usually nauseating, self-serving tripe designed solely to depict a defendant as a saint-gone-wrong, and this one is no different.  Since Big Jack The Flack is the subject of this one, I recommend not eating within an hour or two of checking out the memo.

Hang onto your hat and your stomach; here are some of the memo's dubious claims {what I'd have pointed out to the judge, if anybody'd asked in italics}:

  1. He has dedicated himself to his religion, keeping the rules of Orthodox Judaism since the age of 13. {I'd have to check to be sure, Your Honor, but I'm guessing that stealing, cheating, and lying probably are not within the rules of orthodox Judaism}

  2. is without a doubt that he has done far more good than bad, a conclusion that can be lost in the stacks of recent news articles. {I think that might depend a whole lot on how you measure the good and the bad.  Do you measure in dollars--how much given in true charity versus how much taken improperly, with some adjustment for amount given to charity to launder it so it can be used for nefarious purposes?  Does severity of the good and bad matter?  If so, corrupting the foundations of congress in a representational democracy just might count for a tad more bad than can be offset by starting a school.}

  3. Rabbi David Lapin, someone who knows Mr. Abramoff better than almost anyone else, explains that "hardly ever before have I seen a person undergo so much deep soul searching, remorse, and personal transformation as has Mr. Abramoff in the past months. He has not become bitter at all -- only humble and very, very sad and sorry for the actions he took and the far-reaching impact they have had." (Rabbi Lapin Ltr. of 3-14-06... ) {Your honor, if you don't already, you should know that a reference from Rabbi Lapin isn't that much of a reference.  I hope someone made you aware that Rabbi Lapin, about as right wing a Rabbi as you'll find, is the brother of Daniel Lapin who "allegedly took money from Abramoff client eLottery to help defeat a federal ban on Internet gambling," and, being a judge yourself,  you just might want to also know that the brother has "joined the crusade against what conservatives call 'activist judges.' As for David, Big Jack funneled a million dollars to him for "promoting ethics in government" in the Mariana Islands; see point 6, below.}

  4. As a boy, Jack Abramoff knew the stories of the hard times his family had endured during the Great Depression and, of course, was well aware of the suffering the Jewish people endured during the Holocaust and the displacement that followed the close of World War II. {It seems too obvious to mention, Your Honor, but was Big Jack not also aware of the horrific history of American Indian tribes at the time he so basely insulted them and took their money?}

  5. Mr. Abramoff [was] elected unanimously as National Chairman of the College Republicans. Upon graduation, he moved to Washington, D.C. and deferred entry into law school to assume this new position and revive the national organization. {Sometimes, Your Honor, what isn't said is even more important than what is.  It seems that, as far back as 1981 when Big Jack ran for president of the national College Republicans he was already exhibiting that his personal morals were, well, pretty loose.  Maybe his election was unanimous because "Back in 1981, Abramoff and his campaign manager, Norquist, promised their leading competitor, Amy Moritz, the job of crnc executive director if she dropped out of the race. Moritz took the bait, but it turned out that Abramoff had made the promise with his fingers crossed. Norquist took the executive director job and named Moritz his deputy. That demotion didn't last long, either. After discovering the talented Ralph Reed, Norquist handed the Christian Coalition godfather Moritz's responsibilities and her office space. They placed all of Moritz's belongings in a box labeled amy's desk.}

  6.  Mr. Abramoff lobbied for numerous and varied causes, and volunteered his services free of charge for many others, particularly charities and individuals of modest means in need of having their voice heard at the federal level. (See, e.g., Gov. Fitial Ltr. of 3/20/06 (praising Mr. Abramoff's work for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).)  {Jeez, Your Honor, it looks like the lawyers for Big Jack share his Big Lack of conscience.  Gov. Fitial is, in fact, the guy behind doling out over $11 million in lobbying funds to Big Jack and his buddies from 1995 to 2002. And his "work for the...Mariana Islands?"  That work was to keep workers there from having the protections afforded by American labor laws, all at a time that the Marianas were importing virtual slave laborers from elsewhere in Asia, and involved Big Jack funneling $1 million to Rabbi David Lapin for "promoting ethics in government" in the Mariana Islands,"  as well as paying for Tom DeLay to visit the Islands for a little golf and a little support in congress for Big Jack's efforts.  In fact, Your Honor, that DeLay trip is one of the reasons that Tom DeLay is currently managing a few "ethics lessons" in court right now.}

  7.  Among the charities Mr. Abramoff is best known for founding, heading or supporting several Jewish schools. As Allen Rothberg explains: "Jewish survival is dependent on Jewish education. Mr. Abramoff, through providing and promulgating Jewish education to those who may have otherwise been unable to obtain it, no doubt has  rescued many generations of Jews to come." (A. Rothberg Ltr. of 3/13/06.)  {Well, your honor, it would be nice if they'd told you that the list of schools they provide you leaves out the one that was for snipers in the West Bank.  They also managed not to say that the sniper school was funded with money that people had donated to Big Jack's nonprofit Capital Athletic Foundation, supposedly geared to help inner-city children through organized sports.}

  8. ...whether it be in front of the television for a respite from the onslaught only to hear George Clooney attack their father at the Golden Globe awards,....the Abramoff family has had to endure pain most children cannot even imagine. {Hey, Your Honor, that's probably true. BUT among the children who can imagine it are the Indian children who heard the news reports of Big Jack referring to their people as "monkeys", "troglodites," "morons," and "stupidest idiots in the land for sure."}

Just asking: does it mean anything when a guy convicted of fraud manages to commit fraud or the next thing to it in a memo to the sentencing judge?  Is that evidence of rehabilitation these days?