Former Lobbyist Jack Abramoff
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Former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff arrives is getting support from prosecutors in requesting a delay in the date he must report to prison.
By Producer
NBC News
updated 9/26/2006 6:33:11 PM ET 2006-09-26T22:33:11

Prosecutors and the attorney representing disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff said in a joint motion that sending him to jail now "would significantly impede on-going investigations in which his participation is critical." In January, Abramoff pleaded guilty to defrauding lenders in the sale of the SunCruz Casino.

Abramoff continues to cooperate in the pay-to-play, Washington influence peddling scandal, according to the court filing.  The Justice Department's probe of Abramoff has already netted Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who will formally plead guilty next month, as well as former top White House procurement official David Safavian, who is awaiting sentencing. Top aides to Ney and former Rep. Tom DeLay, have also pleaded guilty to conspiring with Abramoff and an Interior Department official.

The filing to delay Abramoff's prison date was made in a district court in Miami. It asks Judge Paul Huck to defer the date for three-months, before Abramoff and his former partner in the SunCruz casino business, Adam Kidan, must report to federal prison.  Abramoff and Kidan were sentenced to 70 months. They are scheduled to begin serving that sentence on Oct. 2.

The motion states, "to ensure continued access to Mr. Abramoff in the federal investigation and to Mr. Kidan in the state investigation, and to avoid wasted effort by the Bureau of Prisons in making preparations for the defendants' reporting to prison, the government respectfully moves the Court to continue the defendants' reporting date for a period of not less than 90 days in the future."

The court filing also says that Kidan is cooperating in the murder investigation of the former owner of SunCruz.  "State prosecutors are utilizing the cooperation of Mr. Kidan in the investigation and prosecution stemming from the alleged murder of Constantino "Gus" Boulis," according to the court filing.

Boulis, founder of SunCruz Casino and the Miami Subs chain, was gunned down at the wheel of his BMW as he drove away from his Fort Lauderdale office in February 2001. Three men -- including one who was a former FBI informant with ties to the Mafia -- have been charged in his slaying.

The shooting happened amid a bitter dispute over SunCruz, which Boulis sold in September 2000 for $147.5 million to Abramoff and Kidan.

Cooperation anticipated for a long time
A year ago, a federal grand jury indicted Abramoff and Kidan on charges of defrauding lenders of $60 million in the SunCruz sale. They both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to nearly six years in prison.

The motion to defer Abramoff's date to report to prison says, "In the months before and since his guilty pleas in January, Mr. Abramoff has met on numerous occasions over long hours with government agents and prosecutors."

Prosecutors say that the Justice Department, "anticipates that Mr. Abramoff's cooperation will continue for some time, and that the need for him to adequately prepare by reviewing electronic and paper records will likewise continue." Much of the cooperation, according to the filing, related to grand-jury or law enforcement-sensitive matters.

Abramoff is not scheduled to appear for a status hearing in Washington until December.

Joel Seidman is an NBC News producer based in Washington, DC.

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