Prosecutors Detail Favor Trail between Abramoff, DoI Official

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Yesterday, prosecutors made their case against Steven Griles, the former #2 at the Department of Interior who pled guilty in March to lying to Senate investigators about his relationship with Jack Abramoff. Prosecutors want a ten month sentence for Griles, split between prison and home detention.

Their sentencing memo extensively detailed how Griles was Abramoff’s man in Interior, providing a constant stream of confidential information valuable to Abramoff’s tribal clients. In return, Abramoff helped Griles’ many lady friends: channelling $500,000 into Italia Federici’s right-wing group, the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, and interviewing two others for possible jobs with Abramoff’s lobbying firm (Griles, as we’ve noted before, is quite the lady’s man). Abramoff also came close to hiring Griles himself. You can read The Washington Post‘s rundown of the sentencing memo here.

But my favorite part from the memo was this:

On September 24, 2003, Touchstone Pictures/Declaration Productions, Inc. was filming the 2004 motion picture “National Treasure” on the grounds of the United States Navy Memorial located in Washington, D.C. The Navy Memorial, built on Federal land and under the jurisdiction of the DOT National Park Service, was steps away from the entrance to Signatures. Abramoff was upset that the film crew and its trailers and equipment were blocking the valet parking area abutting his restaurant. Because the film crew had a valid permit, they ignored Abramoff’s demands to move away from his restaurant.

Knowing that the Navy Memorial was built on Federal land, Abramoff telephoned defendant Griles. The defendant, in turn, contacted the Special Assistant to the Director of the National Park Service and asked the Government official to investigate Abramoff’ s complaint. The National Park Service official went to the restaurant, spoke with both the manager of Signatures and a representative of the film crew, and directed the film crew to move their equipment away from the restaurant’s valet parking area.

So who wins in a power showdown between Abramoff and Nick Cage (who starred in National Treasure)? In D.C., Abramoff would have won that battle every time.