Prosecutors want to send the former #2 at the Department of Interior J. Steven Griles to jail for five months, arguing that Griles' lies to Senate investigators threw investigators off the scent of his ties to Jack Abramoff and he ought to be punished for it.
But Griles' lawyer Barry Hartman responded yesterday
, saying that while Griles admittedly lied (he pled guilty after all) about the extent of his ties to Abramoff, those lies didn't constitute a cover-up. If investigators had "actually asked a question about a particular subject," Hartman writes
, Griles would have fessed up. Too bad investigators didn't know the right questions to ask.
Hartman also disputed
prosecutors' comparison of Griles to Scooter Libby and David Safavian -- two former administration officials convicted for lying to investigators who got harsh sentences (2 1/2 years for Libby, 1 1/2 for Safavian):
"Mr. Libby was convicted after trial of multiple counts of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury in a grand jury investigation related to a very serious issue of national security and covert operations in foreign countries. Mr. Griles' concealment of a personal relationship and how it led to his meeting and knowing Mr. Abramoff is hardly comparable.
Mr. Safavian's conduct was also far more egregious than Mr. Griles'...."
In other words, Griles' committed at most the third
most egregious felony by an administration official.
Griles' lawyer has asked that Griles be sentenced to community service, well, that he be sentenced to do what he does best, and that is lobby -- though on behalf of supposedly noble causes
His sentencing is set for Tuesday.