June 17, 2007 / by emptywheel


Throwing Another Admin Official in Jail for Obstruction

In spite of signing a plea agreement for the charge of obstructing a Senate investigation, Steve Griles is trying to get his already light 10 month sentence reduced to three months of home confinement and community service on two non-profits Griles set up himself (in a scandal, of course, in which non-profits have routinely been used to launder money). The government is not so crazy about that deal, as they explain that Griles’ lies materially affected the Senates investigation into Abramoff.

The United States submits that had defendant Griles not lied and withheld material information, the Senate Committee would not have credited the defendant’s testimony in precipitously concluding its investigation into Abramoff’ s alleged influence and access within DOl. Rather, the Senate Committee would have dug deeper and probed further and likely would have discovered the truth about the extent of Abramoff’s access to the second highest-ranking official within DOl.

The government’s response explains why they recommended such a light sentence for Griles: put simply, they haven’t figured out how Griles benefited from helping Abramoff yet.

Given the seriousness of defendant Griles’ criminal conduct, and theconsequences that flowed directly therefrom, we deem it necessary tonote the single reason why the United States agreed to recommend anon-binding "split sentence" of ten (10) months imprisonment. Simplyput, to date, the United States has uncovered no evidence thatdefendant Griles personally accepted any money or gifts from Abramoff.That said, had we discovered otherwise, the charge(s) and thesentencing recommendation would not have been so limited.

The government basically suggests the judge cannot justify a lower sentence (though of course guidelines are not mandatory), because Griles refused to cooperate.

Defendant Griles has declined the United States’ invitation tocooperate in this ongoing criminal investigation, precluding him fromreceiving a substantial assistance departure under U.S .S .G. § 5K1.1.We have thus reached the proverbial floor of the applicable advisorySentencing Guideline range and there is no basis in fact or in law todig into the basement.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2007/06/17/throwing-another-admin-official-in-jail-for-obstruction/