Feds: Abramoff Associate Kevin Ring ‘Not Entitled’ To Leniency

Federal prosecutors maintained in a filing on Thursday that Jack Abramoff crony Kevin Ring should face 17 to 22 years in jail because he is “is not entitled to the benefits, or leniency, enjoyed by his co-conspirators who stood in a very different position in 2005 to 2008 than he does in 2011.”

Ring’s lawyers had argued that the tough sentence the Justice Department has sought against him — which exceeds the time served by all 20 other defendants in the conspiracy combined — was a form of retaliation for his decision to go to trial and not plead guilty like many of his co-conspirators.A judge said at a hearing on Tuesday that a 17 to 22 year sentence would be “a pretty big penalty for exercising a constitutional right.”

But in a filing Thursday, federal prosecutors maintained that Ring’s sentence would be justified. They said his “insupportable” argument was essentially that it is “retaliation” if the government “ever seeks a higher sentence than the sentence to which it agreed for any of his co-conspirators.”

From the prosecutors’ case:

“Thus, Ring’s broad proposition is that the Government’s recommended sentence for a defendant’s co-conspirator creates a ceiling by which the Government’s sentencing recommendation for that defendant can never exceed, even if that defendant’s co-conspirator pleaded guilty years earlier in the investigation, cooperated against others, was convicted of different and fewer offenses, pleaded to a narrower factual basis than the conduct for which that defendant was convicted, and executed a plea agreement that bound the Government’s sentencing recommendation, and that plea agreement was executed under a different legal regime.”

“Ring’s claim of ‘retaliation’ for leniency granted to his co-conspirators is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent and attacks the foundation and spirit of our criminal justice system, and should be soundly rejected,” federal prosecutors wrote.

The full filing is embedded below.

USA v. Ring Notice of Additional Authorities