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Jack Abramoff - No Fair & Balanced on Fox's Studio B - Just A Republican Consultant's Take

Reported by Donna - January 3, 2006

With Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion, Studio B covered this important story with just one opinion - the Republican side. We heard from Major Garrett from Fox and Roger Stone, Republican Consultant.

Not one word was uttered about Abramoff's special friend Tom Delay who toasted his good friend on one of his special trips with Abramoff. However, we did get Fox's and a Republican consultant's spin.

The following is my transcript (paraphrased, but pretty much verbatim). Note: Jane Skinner was substituting for Shepard Smith on Studio B.

Jane Skinner: Once powerful lobbyist, Jack Abramoff has struck a deal with federal investigators. He, today, pleaded guilty to fraud and other charges and has agreed to help a far reaching investigation into corruption on Capitol Hill. From Studio B live to our Major Garrett, who is in D.C. where, Major, I'm sure a few people are a bit nervous today with that cooperation?

Major Garrett: Indeed, Jane. This investigation has the potential and I underscore the word 'potential' to blow the lid off all sorts of deals that go on rather routinely in Congress. Deals that some members of Congress might think are legal but the justice department might think are illegal.

But, let's go to the central figure in this, Jack Abramoff. As you said, he pled guilty today in Federal District Court here in Washington to three felonies, consipiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. He left the courthouse with his attorney, took no questions. Abramoff faces up to 30 years in federal prison and will pay restitution to the government and then to his defrauded clients of at least 25 million dollars. And he promises to continue with the ongoing federal investigation of potential other corruption on Capitol Hill.

Now, before leaving the courtroom, Abramoff made an unusual request. He asked the judge for permission to speak. His words were hushed and he said quote, "Words will not express my sorrow and profound regret." He said, one day, quote, he hopes he would merit forgiveness from the almighty and he hopes quote, will work hard for my redemption.

On that conspiracy charge, Jane, basically the government said he tried to win favors from members of congress. The government alleges that Abramoff quote would corruptly give, offer and promise things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to public officials and their relatives with the intent, the government said, to influence and in return for aggreements to perform official acts that benefitted Abramoff.

Now, Abramoff dealt with many members of congress and the scandal could well spread across Capitol Hill.

Cut to Video of Roger Stone, Republican Consultant

Roger Stone: It's going to shape the establishment and it's going to force real reform of both lobbying and campaign finance. I think that the Abramoff scandal has the capacity to take down members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats.

Major Garrett: Jane, Jack Abramoff will fly to Florida tomorrow where he will plead guilty to 2 other counts in a separate investigation. With his plea agreement today, those counts, whatever prison sentence assigned, will run concurrently, meaning at the same time of the charges he pled to today.

Comments: I found it highly unfair and unbalanced that Fox only gave one side of the story. I would have liked to hear what a Democratic Consultant had to say about these events. They did not go into the kickbacks received from the Indian casinos nor his special friendship with Tom Delay. I also love how when these crooks are caught they right away go to the 'almighty' for forgiveness. Perhaps he should have asked for foregiveness before he was caught, before he defrauded people.

This isn't the end of this story. Abramoff has pledged his total help to federal investigators. With a possible 30 year sentence awaiting him, I'm sure that help will be rather detailed.

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