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Former Senate aide charged in Abramoff scandal

  • Story Highlights
  • Ann Copland, ex-aide to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, charged with conspiracy
  • Copland is accused of accepting gifts in exchange of favors for Jack Abramoff clients
  • Abramoff sentenced to four years in prison for lobbying scandal
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By Terry Frieden
CNN
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The ongoing investigation into the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal has resulted in a criminal charge against a former aide to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

Ann Copland, who worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant dealing with Native American tribes, is accused of receiving thousands of dollars worth of tickets and meals in exchange for helping an Abramoff client, the Mississippi tribe of Choctaw Indians.

Copland is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

A court document, which could foreshadow a plea agreement, says in one instance in 2002, Copland provided Abramoff aides a list of requests including tickets for a Paul McCartney concert, a concert by the pop group 'N Sync, an ice show, choice seats for the circus and floor tickets to a hockey game.

Abramoff replied, "She'll get everything she wants," the document says.

Abramoff acknowledged illegally showering gifts on officials who provided favors for his clients. Most prominent of those convicted in the case was former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio. Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles and several key congressional aides were also convicted in the case.

Abramoff was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

The criminal charge says Copland "performed various official actions, including but not limited to attempting to persuade other legislative and executive branch officials to take or abstain from taking official action."

The court document says her actions were concealed, and it does not implicate any lawmaker.

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