Grimaldi relays a couple choice quotes from Judge Huvelle to Griles: "I find that even now you continue to minimize and try to excuse your conduct and the nature of your misstatements" . . . "The agreement you have with the government is a very favorable one". My favorite exchange is one that Grimaldi paraphrases for us:
With her brow furrowed, Huvelle expressed disbelief several times that Griles did not know that Abramoff was funding CREA at a time he was romantically involved with Federici.
I have no inside knowledge in this case. Judge Huvelle may know more details about this case than the article tells us. Maybe Judge Hevelle is simply a hard-nosed judge. Any conclusion I draw is simply a guess, and I trust my readers to form their own opinions.
The strangest paragraph in Grimaldi's article is this apparent non-sequitur:
Among those who have been convicted or pleaded guilty in the scandal besides Abramoff are Federici; Ney; David H. Safavian, former deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget; and several former congressional aides who had become lobbyists, including two who had worked for former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). DeLay resigned from Congress last year and is a figure in the continuing probe, sources familiar with the investigation have said.
[This paragraph has since been edited out of the WaPo article. Evidence of its existence may be found here.]
I can swallow the roll call list of those who have been convicted or pleaded guilty easier than the gratuitous sentence that my former Congressman Tom DeLay "is a figure in the continuing probe". What did DeLay have to do with Griles' sentencing? Did DeLay influence Griles' decision to lie? Is the WaPo implying that Tom DeLay has something to do with CREA?
As a matter of fact, Tom DeLay has been connected to CREA. A DeLay staffers encouraged Abramoff linked entities to donate to CREA as a means of obtaining influence with former Interior Sectretary Gale Norton.
Tribal money went both to a group founded by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, the Cabinet secretary Abramoff was trying to meet, as well as to DeLay's personal charity.
"Do you think you could call that friend and set up a meeting," then-DeLay staffer Tony Rudy wrote to fellow House aide Thomas Pyle in a Dec. 29, 2000, e-mail titled "Gale Norton-Interior Secretary." President Bush had nominated Norton to the post the day before.
Rudy wrote Abramoff that same day promising he had "good news" about securing a meeting with Norton, forwarding information about the environmental group Norton had founded, according to e-mails obtained by investigators and reviewed by The Associated Press. Rudy's message to Abramoff was sent from Congress' official e-mail system.
Within months, Abramoff clients donated heavily to the Norton-founded group and to DeLay's personal charity. The Coushatta Indian tribe, for instance, wrote checks in March 2001 for $50,000 to the Norton group and $10,000 to the DeLay Foundation, tribal records show.
[I wonder if the donations to DeLay's personal charity were intended to influence anyone.]
Non-sequitur or not. You make the call.