Cue the “Dragnet” theme

Abramoff’s accomplices, including Tom DeLay, won’t sleep well tonight.

Abramoff may be about to roll over. (The Washington Post has substantially the same story, adding that Abramoff would be expected to testify against “numerous” members of Congress.)

It would be sad, of course, if Abramoff got off lightly just because he has the most to give the prosecutors in the way of information about other malefactors. But that’s the way conspiracy prosecutions work.

And of course Abramoff is still potentially on the hook in the Boulis murder case, which is a state rather than a Federal prosecution. (The fraud case involving the same set of players is Federal.) If the hit-men talk, and if they know anything about Abramoff, he could mostly skate on the Federal charges and still wind up doing time at Raiford, which is very hard time indeed.

But the good news is that it’s hard to imagine the prosecutors giving Abramoff a deal unless he can give them — DAH-de-dah-dah DAAAAAAAAA — Tom DeLay.

The White House may yet regret its support for DeLay. I noticed that in his Jim Lehrer interview GWB tried to back away from his earlier avowal of DeLay’s “innocence” by saying that he’d only meant that DeLay was presumed innocent until proven guilty. But that doesn’t change the fact that Dick Cheney just went down to Texas to speak at a DeLay fundraiser.

On the other hand, Bush and his cronies may not have any choice. Say Abramoff rolls over on DeLay, and DeLay is suddenly looking at some serious prison time of his own. He’d be trying to think of someone that he could roll over on in his turn. If Abramoff had already provided the information on the rest of the Congressional scum, DeLay could only get a break from the prosecutors by giving them someone even more important than he is.

And who in the world is more important than the House Majority Leader?

DAH-de-dah-dah DAAAAAAAAA …


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: