Michael Scanlon, a key figure in the influence-peddling investigation centered on disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was sentenced Friday to a 20-month prison term and will be required to pay $20 million in restitution.
Scanlon pleaded guilty in November 2005 to one count of conspiracy to violate federal laws including bribery, mail or wire fraud, and honest services fraud.
Scanlon, a former spokesman for ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) went on to run his own public relations firm. He acknowledged he colluded with Abramoff to overbill American Indian tribes for services.
In addition to the 20-month prison term, Scanlon will serve an additional 36 months of supervised release. Scanlon, who may appeal the sentence, must report to jail within 60 days.
“I am so very sorry and so very remorseful,” Scanlon told U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle before she issued his sentence. “It’s been a long journey.”
Federal prosecutors had sought a 24-month sentence, in addition to the restitution payments, less than the maximum term of 60 months under federal guidelines.
But Scanlon’s defense team, lead by attorney Stephen Braga, requested that the former House aide serve no prison time, seeking probation, home confinement or internment in a halfway house, highlighting Scanlon’s role as the first defendant in the Abramoff investigation to cooperate with federal prosecutors and his continued assistance for more than five years.
“Hi cooperation was truly ... absolutely extraordinary,” Braga said Friday, attributing the 20 plea agreements or convictions related to the Abramoff case to information provided by Scanlon.
Nate Edmonds, assistant chief of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section, acknowledged Scanlon’s assistance Friday, stating, “Without Mr. Scanlon’s co-operation the investigation would have taken much longer to complete.”
But Edmonds rejected Scanlon’s request to avoid jail time: “Mr. Scanlon’s crimes were far too serious for such a sentence.”