Last week, Robert Coughlin, the former chief of the criminal division at the Justice Department pleaded guilty
to conflict of interest charges. Filings by prosecutors showed
that Coughlin served as an inside man for Jack Abramoff's associate Kevin Ring.
As part of his plea deal, Coughlin has agreed to cooperate fully with prosecutors in the continuing investigation. But it wasn't clear from his plea whom Coughlin might be able to finger. Legal Times reports
that prosecutors are looking elsewhere in the Justice Department:
A source familiar with the Abramoff probe says the Justice Department is continuing to investigate other former Justice officials. Coughlin and at least two other unnamed Justice officials helped secure a $16.3 million grant for Ring's client, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, court documents say. A deputy assistant attorney general had previously approved $9 million for the tribe. One unanswered question is which official at the department overruled that decision, giving the tribe the full amount.