Judge: Prosecutors cannot retaliate for trial

September 20, 2011 - 11:25 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has dramatically cut the Justice Department's recommended guideline sentencing range for a lobbyist convicted in the Abramoff scandal.

The prosecutors had recommended ex-lobbyist Kevin Ring get a 17- to 22-year prison sentence for treating federal officials to meals and event tickets in exchange for favors. That would have exceeded the time served by all 20 other defendants in the conspiracy combined, including ringleader Jack Abramoff who was sentenced to four years in the Washington courthouse.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ruled Tuesday that Ring's guideline range should be 3-5 years. She said defendants cannot be retaliated against for fighting the charges at their trial.

Huvelle is free to punish him outside that range at sentencing scheduled for Oct. 26.