Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Ring’
Thursday, August 5th, 2010

A judge denied a motion to dismiss the heart of the government’s corruption case against former Abramoff-associate Kevin Ring Thursday, clearing the way for prosecutors to proceed to a second trial.

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

In a motion filed last month, Ring had argued new restrictions imposed on prosecutors’ use of the honest services fraud statute made their case untenable. But U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle of the District of Columbia disagreed with a whole-sale dismissal.

“This case is filled with challenges,” Huvelle said before delivering her ruling. “We have excellent lawyers who don’t agree on anything.”

In her ruling, Huvelle acknowledged the narrowed scope of honest services fraud imposed by the Supreme Court last month. However, she pointed to the court’s silence on material representation — or intent to deceive the public — which she said could be expanded to include Ring’s alleged actions.

She also rejected the defense’s argument that prosecutors must prove direct quid-pro-quo exchanges — the new criteria for honest services fraud. Instead, she allowed prosecutors to present evidence that could “infer” a quid-pro-quo exchange.

Ring was charged last September as part of a probe that has led to the conviction of 18 lobbyists and public officials. Ring is one of only two defendants fighting the charges. Ring’s trial ended in a hung jury last fall.

The case against Ring focused on the gray area between legitimate lobbying activities and the quid-pro-quo actions criminalized by anti-bribery law. A jury must now thread that needle to determine whether the former lobbyist crossed the line by allegedly offering free event tickets and meals to 11 public officials in exchange for “official actions” spanning January 2000 to October 2004.

“We are not on a clean slate here; this is very complicated,” Huvelle said. “This is going to be a very hard case for the jury.”

The court’s ruing last month in Skilling v. United States limited prosecutors’ use of the honest services law to strict cases of bribery and kickbacks. In the past, prosecutors took a more expansive view of the law, with some alleging they used the statute as a “catch-all” tool to prosecute white collar crime.

With the more restrictive criteria, prosecutors must prove Ring and the public officials he interacted with violated their “lawful duty” to the public — a term Huvelle and both counsels struggled to define.

“Nobody can articulate — including us — what someone has pled to in an honest services [charge],” Huvelle said. “I can’t even define for myself what a ‘lawful duty’ is … how am I supposed to define it for the jury?”

“It isn’t getting any easier thanks to Skilling,” she added.

Huvelle expressed concern over the law’s ambiguous scope in determining whether Ring and public officials had proper prior notice to understand they might be breaking the law.

She refused to include the sharing of information related to one’s public office as a violation of lawful duty, but said she would allow more concrete violations of duty relating to statutory obligations and an office’s settled practice — “those [duties] within your job description.”

“I am not going out on a theory where ‘lawfully duty’ is not tied to something legal,” she said. “[Not] the mere fact that you’re doing something sleazy.”

Instead of pursuing honest services fraud in itself, prosecutors signaled their intent to prove Ring led a scheme to defraud, predicated on the solicitation of gifts by public officials.

Nathaniel Edmonds, a trial attorney in the DOJ Criminal Divison’s Fraud Section, argued that while the failure to disclose gifts may not have violated public disclosure requirements, they did violate internal Justice Department ethics policy. He said that an unnamed official within the Justice Department would testify that Robert Coughlin, former Deputy Chief of Staff in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, violated department policy.

Judge Huvelle accepted Edmonds’ assertion but pressured him to prove “clear-cut” violations of rules during trial.

Prosecutors will present a list of exhibits and witnesses for the trial Aug. 20, and Ring’s defense is scheduled to make objections Sept. 2.

This post has been updated since it was first posted.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

A former Justice Department official on Tuesday was sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house for accepting about $5,000 in meals, drinks and tickets from a lobbyist who worked with Jack Abramoff.

Robert Coughlin II, a former deputy in the Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison, pleaded guilty in April 2008 to a felony conflict of interest charge. He admitted helping Kevin Ring, a longtime friend, lobby officials in the Justice Department and discussing possible employment at Ring’s firm while receiving the gifts.

Coughlin joined the department in 2001 and resigned in 2007. He also served as a special prosecutor in the Eastern District of Virginia and as a top aide to then-Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, but the conduct in question occurred while he was at OIPL.

U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle also sentenced Coughlin to three years supervised release and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine. He faced up to six months in prison under sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors made no recommendation as to whether Coughlin deserved time behind bars, saying in court documents that his sentence “should be fashioned so as to recognize the seriousness of this offense.”

“I take absolute and full responsibility for my actions,” Coughlin said at the sentencing in Washington, D.C.

Ring has been charged with conspiracy, handing out illegal gratuities and scheming to deprive taxpayers of the honest services of members of the executive and legislative branches, including Coughlin. Huvelle, who also presided over Ring’s case, declared a mistrial in his trial last month, after jurors deadlocked on all counts. Prosecutors have said they intend to try him again.

Prosecutors planned to put Coughlin on the stand during Ring’s case, but during a mock cross-examination in September, Coughlin said that he felt he was unfairly targeted by the Justice Department and that he was not influenced by Ring’s gifts.

In pre-sentencing documents, prosecutors asked Huvelle to credit him for cooperating in the Abramof investigation, but their recommendation, known as a 5k motion, was tempered.

Huvelle called it the “the least enthusiastic 5k I’ve ever seen.”

Michael Leotta, the Appellate Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, said Coughlin’s crimes were “severe,” and he took issue with several assertions in Coughlin’s sentencing memorandum, calling them “ad hominen and false attacks.”

In particular, he disputed the implication that Coughlin might not have been prosecuted but for recusals in the Public Integrity Section and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices for the District of Columbia and the Eastern District of Virginia. (Officials in charge of the Criminal Division and those offices were friends of Coughlin.)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland vetted the case and obtained from the Public Integrity Section criteria used to charge others in the Abramoff probe, Leotta said.

Coughlin’s lawyer, Joshua Berman of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, said Tuesday that his client was led by prosecutors into making the statements before the Ring trial. Coughlin, he said, was speaking “from his heart.”

But Coughlin was not excusing his conduct, Berman added.

For his part, Coughlin said he butted heads with prosecutors, but he apologized for tarnishing the department.

“I love the department. I love everything it stands for. I loved working there,” he told Huvelle.

Coughlin is the only Justice Department official to be prosecuted in the wide-ranging influence probe. Two other justice officials were investigated in the probe, one of whom was reprimanded internally.

“We ask a lot of our public servants, and we should ask a lot of our public servants,” Huvelle said, though she added that sentencing Coughlin presented a “very hard situation.”

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
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.

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Juror 1
Each count without a unanmous deicision, then we tried to do what we thought was the easiest one, which was the last count.
If you can decide that there’s evidence for one piece then everything else falls into place. And all the way through we though each of the charges and each of the counts.
we could never get through the whole thing unanimously.
very first 5,6 and 1 (undecided) on count eight. could have been — really close.
The rest were 8 convict and 4…
All the others were pretty much split four and eight.
tentative verdict — the first we looked at as we talked more and we better understood our own thoughts some people just changed their minds on how they voted.
We became more educated on what we were talking about.
I voted not guilty on all counts.
This was really an intelligent group to work with. We ended being a hung jury because we had irreconcilabel differences but everybody was repsectfull. we had an outstanding foreman.
and taking it to a postice
everything that required for us to judge what he was thinking — we had to determine that he had a corrupt intention — everything that required us to dtermine his state of mind — that was a common elemenat through all the charges — is where we got hung up.
That in my mind is almost an impossible task.
He could have had a lot of intentions and those emails werent enough to spell them out. he could have just been plying them with everything he needed to continiues his access and influence as lobbyists do.
real ignorant on lobbying thing — I really wasnt able to repjudge I was just like a sponge.
And even when the trial and closing arguments were over I didnt know how it was decided until we actually had a conversation and looked at the accounts.
if the porsection could have dsicinated betwen lobbying and corrupt lobbying — then they would have made their case.
Not just to maintain campaign contribution — even though they had a mountain of evidence it wasnt helpful in showing us what kevin ring ewas thinking.
just because someone felt they were corrupted deosnt mean he had intent to ccorrupt them.
I think the defense was smart. The more that the defedant that the defednat had said on hs own behalf would have been rope to choke himself with -
I think it was a powerful way to defend him.
I’m reited from the Air Force, 50,
Juror 1…
Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

When a federal judge declared a mistrial in the government’s case against Kevin Ring last month, some asked, “What went wrong?”

We caught up with two of the jurors this week for some insight. Lucky us, one voted to convict (on all but one count) and the other to acquit.

First, a bit of background: The Justice Department has drawn 17 guilty pleas in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling probe, but prosecutors have suffered setbacks in the two cases in which defendants have opted for trial.

Ring is charged with conspiracy, handing out illegal gratuities and scheming to deprive taxpayers of the honest services of members of the executive and legislative branches. After nearly eight days of deliberation, the jury in Ring’s trial hung on all eight counts.

Prosecutors have said they intend have another go at it. Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, scheduled trial for June 21, after the Supreme Court hears arguments in three cases exploring the reach of the “honest services” law, with which Ring is charged.

Ring’s lawyers say he was a skilled lobbyist who used legal — if at times unseemly — methods to advance his clients’ interests. Prosecutors say he lavished public officials with meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events in return for helping Ring’s clients.

Our first juror — hereafter, Juror No. 1 — is 50 years old and a retired member of the Air Force. On Wednesday, he discussed his experience with us on the condition that he not be named.


Main Justice: Let’s start with an outline of the deliberations.

Juror No. 1: We went through each count without a unanimous decision. Then we tried to do what we thought was the easiest one, which was count eight. [On the sixth day of deliberations, the jury informed Huvelle it had reached a verdict on this count, which involves a payment of $5,000 to a credit union account controlled by the wife of former Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.). The jurors voted to acquit but later split.] We reached a tentative verdict, but as we talked more and we better understood our own thoughts, some people just changed their minds on how they voted.

MJ: What was the vote on count eight?

Juror No. 1: It was really close. I think it was five [convict], six [acquit] and one [undecided].

MJ: And the other seven?

Juror No. 1: The rest, I believe, were eight [convict] and four [acquit]. [Click here for a copy of the indictment.]

MJ: How did you vote?

Juror No. 1: I voted not guilty on all counts.

MJ: Were the disagreements specific to each count or was there some common theme?

Juror No. 1: Everything required us to judge what he was thinking. We had to determine his state of mind, and that was a common thread through all the charges. That’s where we got hung up. That, in my mind, is almost an impossible task.

MJ: The government relied heavily on emails, many of which portrayed Ring and his colleagues gloating about lobbying victories and talking about handing out tickets and meals to public officials. How did his defense get past that?

Juror No. 1: He could have had a lot of intentions, and those emails weren’t enough to spell them out. He could have just been plying them with everything he needed to continue his access and influence, as lobbyists do. If the prosecution could have discriminated betwen lobbying and corrupt lobbying better, then they would have made their case. Even though [the government] had a mountain of evidence, it wasnt helpful in showing us what Kevin Ring was thinking.

MJ: Did you have any preconception of lobbyists? Did you at point before the deliberations have an idea of which way you were leaning?

Juror No. 1: I was really ignorant of the lobbying thing. I wasn’t able to prejudge. I was just like a sponge. And even when the trial and closing arguments were over, I didn’t know how I would decide until we actually had a conversation and looked at the counts.

MJ: Judge Huvelle kept saying you were one of the best juries she’s seen. What was the climate like in the jury room? Were you guys at each others’ throats?

Juror No. 1: No. This was a really intelligent group and they were great to work with. We ended up being a hung jury because we had irreconcilable differences, but everyone was respectful. We had an outstanding foreman. [The foreman, by the way, had some lobbying experience.]

MJ: Thank you, sir.

Juror No. 1: Glad to help.


The second juror, Joy Stevenson, is an administrative assistant at Job Corps. We talked with her on Thursday.

Main Justice: Can you give me a sense of the divisions among the jury?

Stevenson: It was really heated at points. One gentleman, an attorney, he got up and he paced the floor and he was adamant that we could not prove Mr. Ring was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He and three or four others. There was an older lady…who just couldn’t see herself taking people out to dinner or to a game to influence them and so she couldn’t see Mr. Ring doing it. Overall, we formed relationships. We became friends. But some people took it personally.

MJ: How so?

Stevenson: It got to the point that [some of the jurors who favored acquittal] would fold their hands or read the paper. They would have side conversations while we were trying to deliberate. They weren’t even trying to change their minds.

MJ: What convinced you Ring was guilty?

Stevenson: The email traffic. You had Ring and the guys he worked with talking about how they they did this and that, how they loved the look in [a public official's] eyes when they knew they had them. They were very shrewd. They were very careful, and a lot of things they didn’t say. Their plan was very strategic, and that’s why they were so successful….It was very interesting to me how our laws and decisions are made based on power and money. If you’re speaking to the right person and you have the money, they you can influence them. They’re swayed. And I saw that. It was really something.

MJ: But it’s tough trying to get into someone’s mind, to prove intent.

Stevenson: It was kind of frustrating at times because we couldn’t find anything specifically to say, “Ring did this, or he did that,” based on the emails. And Judge Huvelle told us that there was no restriction on giving at the time. You had [Greenberg Traurig's] rules…but, legally, it felt like there was nothing we could use. It was like we were up against a brick wall.

MJ: Before the trial, did you have any preconceptions about lobbyists?

Stevenson: Not really, no. Going into that trial, for me, was like a refresher course [on civics]. It was great. I learned a whole lot.

MJ: Talk about the government’s case. How did the prosecutors do?

Stevenson: I think the government, I think those guys were great. I was very impressed with all of them….But I was looking for them to pull it all together at the end. You know, bam! There was no clincher.

MJ: Thanks, Ms. Stevenson.

Stevenson: Thank you.

A note about the jury list: Huvelle ask jurors to contact her if they wished to have their names release to the news media. Three jurors gave their consent. The others remain anonymous.

Monday, October 19th, 2009

A federal judge has scheduled a retrial for Jun. 21 in the case of Kevin Ring, a former associate of imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle declared a mistrial in the case on Thursday. Jurors failed to reach a verdict after more than a week of deliberations.

Ring is charged with conspiracy, handing out illegal gratuities and scheming to deprive taxpayers of the honest services of members of the executive and legislative branches. Ring’s lawyers say he was a skilled lobbyist who used legal tools to advance his clients’ interests.

At a hearing today, prosecutors requested a January or February trial date, but Huvelle wanted to wait for the Supreme Court’s review of the scope of the federal “honest services” fraud statute, which was used to charge Ring, The Associated Press reported. The Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Dec. 8.

Friday, October 16th, 2009

TPM Muckraker’s Zachary Roth looks at what went wrong in the government’s public corruption case against former lobbyist Kevin Ring, who was an associate of the now-imprisoned Jack Abramoff. The judge declared a mistrial Thursday after the jury deadlocked.

Prosecutors said ex-lobbyist Kevin Ring corrupted Justice Department and other public officials with gifts. (Getty)

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

The bottom line: Ring wasn’t a public official. And so the government had a hard time showing he did anything that was illegal at the time, TPM concludes.

Ring, a former lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig, was accused of showering officials at the Justice Department and in Congress with restaurant meals and event tickets, allegedly so they’d be kindly disposed to help Ring’s lobbying clients. That got Ring charged with honest services fraud. 

But former Justice Department prosecutor Peter Zeidenberg told TPM that it’s one thing to convince a jury that government officials broke the law by taking gifts. It’s another, more difficult argument to make that a lobbyist broke the law by offering gifts.

Zeidenberg said:

“If you’ve got a public official who’s elected by the people, and he’s stuffing his face at the trough, it’s more viscerally offensive to a jury…than when you’ve got a lobbyist …  What do you think lobbyists do?”

Congress later tightened gift and ethics laws in response to the Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Washington lawyer Stan Brand, who represents defendants in ethics and public corruption probes, told TPM that some of the 17 lobbyists, Hill staffers, and government officials who pleaded guilty in the Abramoff probe must now be wondering if they should have gone to trial.

“It could certainly make some of these defendants think, maybe they should have pushed harder,” Brand told TPM.

Brand also called the Ring mistrial another “setback” for the Public Integrity Section. The chief of the section and other lawyers there are under criminal contempt investigation by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan for their handling of evidence in the Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) case, which was later dismissed.

Prosecutors have said they intend to try Ring a second time.

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Former Bush administration official David Safavian was sentenced on Friday to a year in prison for lying to authorities about his relationship with Jack Abramoff. Read the Justice Department news release here.

David Safavian, who was chief of staff at the General Services Administration, was found guilty in 2006  of obstructing justice and making false statements. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but his conviction was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. After a retrial, he was convicted in December 2008 on the same charges.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said he weighed the need for deterrence against the suffering Safavian’s family had endured in four years of proceeding.

The judge showed some leniency — the government had asked for a sentence of 15 to 21 months — but said Safavian should have known better, National Journal reported.

“Nobody expects you to ever commit another crime,” Friedman said. But “sometime in those two or three years” when Safavian was being investigated for his connections to Abramoff, “a light bulb should have gone off.”

(Click here for The Associated Press story and here for National Journal’s coverage of the hearing.)

Safavian passed Abramoff information about two pieces of government-controlled property the lobbyist sought, and Safavian attended a golfing trip to Scotland largely paid for by Abramoff. The junket came to symbolize the excesses and corrupt dealings of Abramoff and several of his associates.

Safavian was the first defendant in the Abramoff probe to opt for trial. On Thursday, a judge declared a mistrial in the case of ex-Abramoff associate Kevin Ring. Prosecutors said they will try the case again.

Safavian’s case was prosecuted by senior litigation counsel Nathaniel Edmonds and trial attorney Albert Stieglitz Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and trial attorney Justin Shur of the Public Integrity Section. Edmonds was also a prosecutor on the Ring case.

Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

UPDATE: 4:40 p.m. Judge Huvelle has declared a mistrial on all counts. When Huvelle asked whether any further deliberation might result in a verdict, the jury foreman answered, simply: “No, your honor.”

Prosecutors made it clear the department will pursue the charges.

“Looks like we’ll be doing this all again,” said Michael Leotta, the Appellate Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, before the jury entered the courtroom.

Ring, the first second Abramoff associate to go to trial rather than plead guilty, declined to comment as he left the courtroom.

Huvelle scheduled a status hearing for Monday. Ring’s lawyer, Miller & Chevalier’s Andrew Wise, said he would argue “vociferously” against going to trial in the next 70 days.

He noted the Supreme Court’s decision to take up three cases — including an appeal from former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling - exploring the scope of the “honest services” law. Ring is charged with depriving the taxpayers of the honest services of employees in the legislative and executive branches of government. The Court’s decision could impact his case and many others.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said during a panel discussion Thursday morning that the Justice Department has not instituted a moratorium on the charge pending the Court’s review.

After declaring a mistrial, Huvelle asked the jurors to discuss the case behind closed doors with her and the lawyers.


On their eighth day of deliberations, jurors in the trial of ex-lobbyist Kevin Ring, a former associate of Jack Abramoff, told a federal judge Thursday that they are “irrevocably blocked on a final unanimous verdict.”

The disclosure, in a note to U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle, comes a day after both prosecutors and Ring’s defense lawyers urged the court to declare a mistrial — a request she declined grant.

However, Huvelle appeared to warm to the idea Thursday, telling the lawyers — absent the jury — that she was thinking of declaring a mistrial on seven of the eight counts Ring faces.

Ring is charged with conspiracy, giving illegal gratuities and depriving taxpayers of the honest services of public officials. Prosecutors say he lavished Justice Department officials, members of Congress and their staff with meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events in return for helping Ring’s clients.

On Tuesday, the jury told Huvelle it had reached a verdict on the eighth count involving a payment of $5,000 to a credit union account controlled by the wife of former California Republican Rep. John Doolittle.

In the intervening days, some of the jurors appear to have had a change of heart. In the note to Huvelle Thursday, the jury foreman said the deadlock was complete.

“We foresee no change in this status after six-plus days of deliberation and think unanimity for this jury is impossible,” the jury foreman wrote.

In a second note to Huvelle, the foreman said the jury had resolved to consider count eight only — but not until after lunch.

We’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

National Journal is reporting that prosecutors and defense lawyers for Kevin Ring, an ex-associate of Jack Abramoff asked a federal judge to declare a mistrial Wednesday.

The judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, declined the requests and instructed the jury to continue deliberations, which have spanned nearly seven days now.

In a note to Huvelle, the jury wrote, ”We do not see how we can reach a verdict,” according to National Journal.

On Tuesday, jurors told the Huvelle they’d reached a verdict on one of the charges but were stuck on the other seven. (They jury did not reveal the nature of the verdict.) Ring is charged with conspiracy, doling out illegal gratuities and depriving taxpayers of the honest services of public officials.

According to National Journal, prosecutors and defense lawyers said enough was enough.

“Let them go…. Declare a mistrial,” Andrew Wise, Ring’s attorney, said. “This jury has been at it for an extended period.”

“Take the verdict [on the one count], declare a mistrial… and get another trial moving as quickly as possible,” prosecutor Nathaniel Edmonds suggested.

Huvelle said that “given the length of the trial” — about three weeks — “the amount of evidence and the complications of the case,” the jury should continue deliberations.

Ring called for a mistrial last week, after a jury foreman alerted Huvelle to a barred exhibit the government mistakenly included in his evidence binder.

Ring is represented by Miller & Chevalier’s Wise and Timothy O’Toole. The team of prosecutors includes Edmonds, of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section; Michael Ferrara, of the Public Integrity Section; and Michael Leotta, Appellate Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

Kevin Ring (Getty Images)

The Associated Press has the latest in the trial of Kevin Ring, an ex-associate of imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Tuesday was the sixth day of jury deliberations.

Jurors have reached a verdict on one criminal charge and appear deadlocked on seven others in the trial of a lobbyist caught up in the Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandal.

The jury for Kevin Ring decided Tuesday to keep secret its verdict on the one count for now after being directed by U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle to resume deliberations Wednesday.

The charge involves a payment of $5,000 to a credit union account controlled by the wife of former California Republican Rep. John Doolittle.

In a note to Huvelle, the second of the day, jurors said that deliberations had been contentious and that arguments had shown no sign of movement toward a verdict, The AP reported. Huvelle told the jurors to continue deliberating.

In the first note, the panel asked Huvelle whether there was a limit on the dollar value of gifts Team Abramoff could give to public officials. (No, she told them.)

Ring is charged with conspiracy, giving illegal gratuities and depriving taxpayers of the honest services of public officials. Prosecutors allege Ring lavished public officials with meals and tickets to sporting events and concerts in return for helping his clients. His lawyers say Ring excelled at his profession, using only legal tools to influence members of Congress, their staff and Justice Department officials.