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Friday, December 09, 2005

Casting a Wider Net?

Looks like the plea deal with Adam Kidan is closer to being finalized than we knew yesterday. That's good news for Federal investigators -- and very bad news for a number of members of Congress and their staffs.
Adam Kidan, a longtime confidant of Abramoff's, has agreed to testify against Abramoff in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., next month when he is to face trial on fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with their purchase of a fleet of Florida casino boats. A Kidan plea would tie Abramoff's legal troubles in Florida more closely to the Washington investigation into his lobbying practices, pressuring Abramoff to reach a deal of his own that could implicate members of Congress and other government officials, lawyers involved in the case said.
Kidan is dealing with state murder charges on top of the Federal investigation, and likely wanted the Federal charges out of the way to concentrate on pinning the murder on Abramoff and his hired goons.

This makes two close Abramoff associates to cut deals in the last couple of weeks. With the Abramoff Florida trial set to begin on January 9, the window for deal cutting for Indian Money Jack is closing rapidly. Kidan has known Abramoff since their College Republican days (Wow, doesn't that group promote ethics and playing nice or what?), and has been involved in Abramoff's activities up to his eyeballs. Should make for some interesting cooperation, to say the least.

The WaPo article is well detailed, and an excellent overview of where things stand in this case at the moment. It makes clear that Rep. Bob Ney has been informed that a bribery indictment is hanging over his head, and that other members of Congress are under substantial scrutiny (along with current and former staffers) and other KStreet pals.

If you've missed this story up to now and are wondering how many tentacles reach into Congress and back out to KStreet:
Abramoff's SunCruz world frequently overlapped with his lobbying activities. For example, as the casino deal was closing, Abramoff introduced then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) to his lender in a private box at FedEx Field. DeLay's deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, was listed as a reference on loan papers, as was Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). Kidan attended an exclusive party in DeLay's office on Inauguration Day 2001 in Washington. During the purchase negotiations, Boulis received from DeLay's office a flag that had flown over the Capitol.
And this is only a small glimpse. Josh Marshall has been on this story since day one, and has much more. Here's to the DoJ casting a fairly wide net.

UPDATE: For some more background on the Abramoff/Kidan connection and the issues surrounding the Boulis murder, take a peek at this.