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Guilty plea expected from GOP's Ney

From Kevin Bohn
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio has agreed to plead guilty to a pair of charges as part of a deal with the Justice Department in which he will cooperate with its ongoing influence peddling investigation, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.

Sources would not provide additional details of the expected plea deal, which one of the sources told CNN would be filed Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Ney entered an alcohol rehabilitation facility earlier this week and is not expected to be in court Friday, according to one of the sources.

Ney, who had steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, has been under investigation for many months as part of the government probe into corruption and bribery by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney would be the first member of Congress to plead guilty as part of the extensive investigation. He has previously said he took no official actions as a result of any gifts from lobbyists.

Abramoff and his business partner, public relations executive Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty within the last year to bribery charges and admitted they supplied gifts to a member of Congress identified publicly only as "Representative 1."

In court filings, they said the gifts were in exchange for help from the lawmaker on behalf of their clients, including the support for specific bills; meetings with their clients; advancing in the House of Representatives an application of one of their clients for a license to install a wireless telephone infrastructure; and placing statements in the Congressional Record regarding a Florida casino deal.

Government sources have previously told CNN that lawmaker was Ney.

In exchange for his actions, Ney and his staff allegedly received, according to previous court filings in the case, items including a golf trip to Scotland, meals at restaurants, tickets to sporting events and campaign contributions.

Several aides to Ney had received subpoenas as part of the probe in the last several months, which seemed to indicate a focus on him.

Ney, who gave up his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee after the Abramoff plea deal, decided in August to abandon his campaign for re-election, which had been dogged by questions about his dealings with Abramoff.

In May, Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, also entered into a deal in which he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

In court papers, prosecutors alleged Ney "agreed to take favorable official action and render other assistance on behalf of clients" of Abramoff, who hired Volz as a lobbyist after he left Ney's staff.

CNN's John Roberts contributed to this report.

Ohio Rep. Bob Ney has repeatedly said he has done nothing wrong.



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