Coughlin Sentencing Memo Gives Probe Details
By Joe Palazzolo | November 19, 2021 1:41 pm
Although he pled guilty to a felony conflict of interest in violation of 18
U.S.C. §§ 208 & 216(a)(2), Ex. 1, Coughlin fails fully to acknowledge that he has committed a

serious crime. He does so in five ways


The Justice Department’s Inspector General investigated two DOJ officials in connection with the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, but they were never charged, according to court papers filed Wednesday night.

The disclosure came in a government sentencing memorandum for Robert Coughlin II, a former lawyer in the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison and deputy chief of staff in the Criminal Division. Coughlin, the only DOJ official to be charged in the influence-peddling probe, pleaded guilty in April 2008 to a conflict of interest charge. Coughlin is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 24.

The memo does not name the other two DOJ officials, but it notes that the investigations are closed. The sentencing memo seems to put to rest questions about whether any other Justice officials, past or current, could face prosecution in the Abramoff probe.

The memo notes Coughlin’s help to prosecutors in probing other aspects of the case, but points out that he was “minimal assistance” in its investigation of former Abramoff associate Kevin Ring. Still, the Justice Department is crediting him for his earlier help. Coughlin faces up to six months in prison — but that’s unlikely, given his assistance and the treatment received by the majority of the other 17 officials convicted in the probe.

Federal prosecutors had planned to use Coughlin as a witness in the trial of Ring, who gave him more than $4,000 in meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events. Prosecutors say Coughlin helped Ring achieve lobbying victories, giving him inside information and setting up meetings with officials in return for a stream of gifts.

Days before he was to testify, Coughlin told prosecutors during a mock cross-examination that he felt he was unfairly targeted by the Justice Department and that “the things of value Mr. Ring gave him did not influence his official actions,” according to court papers.

Prosecutors dropped Coughlin from the witness list and “had to scramble on the eve of the trial to find other witnesses who could fully and accurately describe Ring’s efforts to corruptly influence and reward DOJ officials,” the memo says. (Ring’s case ended last month in a mistrial. Prosecutors have said they will bring the case again.)

Before Coughlin’s revelation during trial preparation, he had submitted to eight interviews with various agents.

According to prosecutors:

Coughlin was interviewed by DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) agents regarding other DOJ officials. He was also interviewed by an FBI agent regarding the broader Abramoff investigation. And he was interviewed by a DOJ Inspector General agent regarding allegations of politicized hiring at DOJ. The bulk of these interviews required him to travel to Washington, D.C., and to stay overnight. These interviews were of some use in closing the OIG’s investigations of two DOJ officials, and in completing the investigation of allegations of politicized hiring at the DOJ.

During the Ring trial, David Ayres, the chief of staff to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying.

Ring’s lawyers wanted to question Ayres about a $16.3 million grant the Justice Department awarded to one of Ring’s tribal clients in 2002 and college basketball tickets he and his wife received from the lobbyist.

Prosecutors said Ring intended to cultivate Ayres, who is now CEO of Ashcroft’s consulting firm, with the tickets in return for future favors.

The government alleged that in January 2002 Ayres helped Ring secure the grant for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, overruling then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Tracy Henke, who thought the $16.3 million figure, to be used for a new jail, was too much.

Ring’s defense lawyers said they could show that Ayres did not make the decision to award the grant.


Comments are closed.

The Senate Democratic leader describes the Republicans' refusal to hold hearings on President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee "historically unbelievable and historically unprecedented."

  • Former Owner of Empire Towers Pleads Guilty for Fraudulent $7 Million Bond Scheme and Filing False Tax Return
  • Deutsche Bank's London Subsidiary Agrees to Plead Guilty in Connection with Long-Running Manipulation of LIBOR
  • Northern California Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging and Fraud Conspiracies at Public Foreclosure Auctions
  • Service Members to Receive Over $123 Million for Unlawful Foreclosures Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
  • Justice Department and State Partners Secure $1.375 Billion Settlement with S&P; for Defrauding Investors in the Lead Up to the Financial Crisis
  • Northern California Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging and Fraud at Public Foreclosure Auctions
  • Eleven Northern California Real Estate Investors Indicted for Bid Rigging and Fraud at Public Foreclosure Auctions
  • Alabama Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud
  • Five Northern California Real Estate Investors Indicted for Bid Rigging and Fraud at Public Foreclosure Auctions
  • Two Former Rabobank Traders Indicted for Alleged Manipulation of U.S. Dollar, Yen Libor Interest Rates