Monday, Aug. 24, 1981
Six pols are prison bound
A defense lawyer decried the "mass condemnation proceedings," but New York Federal District Court Judge George Pratt was unmoved. Pratt ordered jail terms for six former elected officials convicted of bribery and conspiracy, the first sentences handed down in the Justice Department's Abscam operation.
Four are former U.S. Representatives. Frank Thompson, 63, of New Jersey, might avoid jail because of a heart condition; final sentencing will await medical test results. The three other ex-Congressmen were each given $20,000 fines, and multiple prison terms to be served concurrently. New York's John Murphy, 55, received a three-year and two two-year terms. Michael Myers, 38, was given three three-year terms, and fellow Philadelphian Raymond Lederer, 43, racked up three terms of three years and another of two years.
Two officials who shared in the spoils were also punished. Philadelphia City Councilman Louis Johanson, 52, received the same sentence as Myers. Because of his extensive involvement, New Jersey State Senator Angelo Errichetti received the harshest sentence: one six-year term, two five-year terms and $40,000 in fines. Under parole guidelines, each of the six must serve at least 14 months. All plan to appeal.
Read more: Abscam's Toll - TIME
Camden, N.J. Mayor Angelo Errichetti, driven from office because of an Abscam conviction, was a staunch supporter of the development of nuclear power as a means to attract new industry to the city's port, which he sought to modernize. Federal funding fell through, and Errichetti turned to the FBI's phony Arab sheikh for money to build the city.
Philadelphia City Councilmen George Schwartz and Harry P. Jannotti, driven from office by an Abscam prosecution. Federal Judge John P. Fullam overturned their convictions, finding that they had been the victims of a government scheme ``designed not to expose municipal corruption, but merely to ascertain whether, given enough inducement, city officials could be corrupted.'' Later, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Judge Fullam, reinstating the convictions, but not without objection from Judge Ruggiero Aldisert, who was also a sitting member of the Third Circuit court. Aldisert's dissent was an impassioned plea for the country to reject Abscam for the police-state methods it employed.
Last edited by CHIOSSO; 03-28-2010 at 01:35 PM.
Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox