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Abramoff Scandal | Cobell
Cobell calls attention to Griles' lack of candor


Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff in the Indian trust fund lawsuit, has submitted a letter to the judge who will sentence J. Steven Griles, the former deputy secretary at the Interior Department.

Griles pleaded guilty to lying to Senate Indian Affairs Committee about convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Cobell said his behaviors in that case were similar to his handling of the trust fund debacle.

"There is an ominous parallel between questionable comments he made in our litigation and the false statement he has acknowledged making about his relationship with Mr. Jack A. Abramoff," Cobell wrote.

Cobell drew attention to a June 2002 sworn declaration in which Griles accused a court officer of impropriety. But Judge Royce Lamberth, who has since been removed from the case, found that Griles exhibited "an alarming lack of candor and [came] perilously close to perjury by omission."

"The comments of Judge Lamberth should have been a clarion call to Mr. Griles to be candid and straightforward in sworn testimony and public statements," Cobell noted. "The fact that he is before you shows that he ignored that clear warning in 2002," Cobell told Judge Ellen Huvelle.

Griles is due to be sentenced next Tuesday. Federal prosecutors are recommending a 10-month "split" sentence -- half in prison and half in home confinement -- plus a $250,000 fine. His lawyers are seeking community service and a lesser fine.

Cobell Letter:
Re: James Steven Griles (June 20, 2007)

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